Floods 2
Meditation and Reflection

Rain, floods and the judgment of God

 

Storms, rain, deluge, the worst floods in decades. ‘Why does it always rain on me?’, sang the Scottish band Travis in 1999. “Is it because I lied when I was seventeen?” they go on to ponder, expressing the pervasive belief in exact retribution, consistent with the Old Testament:

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased.
If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself: but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it
(Prov 9:10-12).

The perfect equation of sin with judgment is as prevalent in modern pop culture as it was in Job’s day. The principal plea of those who suffer disaster and trauma is “Why me?” or “What have I done to deserve this?”, and the easy, comforting answer is to believe that the suffering is deserved; that some personal wickedness or sin was its cause, because associated guilt places the catastrophe in a comprehensible universal order, namely that suffering is explicable in terms of punishment.

Job shares the premise of his friends that because God is just, He rewards the righteous and punishes the guilty, which is why Job can make no sense of his own suffering (10:5-7). ‘Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard: I cry aloud, but there is no judgment’ (19:7).

It isn’t easy to square God’s promises of prosperity for the faithful and hardship for the disobedient with the reality that Travis sing about. How does one equate Psalm 146 with Job 24:1-12, or Deuteronomy 30:15-20 with Ecclesiastes 8:14-9:4? The author of the Book of Job clashes directly with the ideology of Proverbs, and so, many conclude, “The Bible is just full of contradictions.” Proverbs seems to say, “Here are the rules for life; try them and find that they will work.” Job and Ecclesiastes say, “We did, and they don’t.”

But Job isn’t necessarily a contradiction to Proverbs; more a modification or qualification. Proverbial expressions of natural retribution are something most will understand: eating junk food results in heart attacks; smoking gives you lung cancer; building on floodplains is just asking for trouble. But Proverbs does not attempt to reconcile the contradictions of experience. Thus when poverty is linked to laziness or folly (Prov 6: 6-11; 10:4f; 21:17,21,25), it is easy to conclude that laziness results in poverty; or worse, that poverty is always the result of laziness.

But this is to ignore that righteous people are afflicted by suffering (Ps 13:1):

And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
(Jn 9:1f).

Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? (Lk 13:4).

By separating calamity from moral wrongdoing, there is an alleviation of associated guilt, and thus illness and disease, death or disaster need not necessarily cast discredit on the victim. Proverbs speaks truth, but the lesson from Job is not to apply it dogmatically or simplistically.

Job’s friends repeatedly state that all humans are flawed by sin and none is pure (4:17-21, 15:14, 25:4-6), and Job shares this view (1:5, 14:1-4), and does not therefore claim to be sinless (cf 7:21, 13:26, 14:16f). This appears to contradict his claims elsewhere (9:15,20, 10:1-7) to be innocent. It has to be assumed that the prevailing theory of retribution held by Job and his friends was that God’s punishments and rewards were in proportion to man’s sin or righteousness – a theory which has been perpetuated throughout church and literary history: “I am a man more sinned against than sinning,” cries King Lear.

Job clings to the deeply-held belief that he is innocent of anything which may have deserved calamity and suffering on such a massive scale. His experience moves him beyond a limiting theology, and opens his eyes to the fact that the wicked are rarely punished (ch 21) and the oppressed are rarely comforted (24:1-12). Job ultimately allows his experience to modify his theological dogma, while his friends cling to their dogma against all the evidence.

Some people believe that these present floods and interminable downpours are God’s judgment upon a sinful and rebellious nation.

No, they absolutely and unequivocally are not.

Firstly, God promised never to do that again (Gen 9:11-17); and secondly, the books of wisdom found in the Bible suggest that the wicked may prosper while the righteous suffer. Job’s counsellors were of most use when they sat with him in silence for seven days (2:13). Though their understanding of suffering was partial, in their silence they moved towards empathy and understanding.

Mankind is unable to locate and obtain wisdom (28:12-22), but God ‘established it and searched it out‘ (vv23-27) when he created the universe. In this context, wisdom appears to be the deepest principle underlying the cosmos, and silence is perhaps an appropriate reverent response. Communication with the Divine is, however, possible throughout suffering. God may be the justifiable object of wrath, impatience or grief, and He may rightly be blamed, for He is ultimately the origin of the suffering (42:2), so if a victim’s encounter with God is pierced with hatred and resentment, so be it. It is, at least, an honest encounter and is commendable (42:7f).

Job 33 is said to contain the one real insight into a human understanding of woe: Elihu’s constructive view of suffering (vv14ff), and the need for a mediator to help make sense of it all (vv23-28) – a gracious minister of rebuke and guidance, leading the sufferer to joyous restoration. Elihu contributes the idea that suffering can be a discipline (vv16-30 cf 36:9-15), and thereby makes a valuable contribution to its positive and constructive aspects.

But theodicy – the justification of God – is a complex area of theology. Job clings to the notion that, contrary to appearances, God is just. He is absolutely certain that he will be vindicated (19:25) and it is possible that he believes his vindicator to be God. Job’s world may lie in ruins, but there is a deeply held conviction that ultimately God acts justly. He may be a present enemy (19:8-12), but Job’s complete human isolation turns him to God as the only possible source of his vindication. Reaching out to the supernatural is a normal human reaction when faith in humanity and earthly order has been destroyed by trauma and isolation.

There are many struggles involved in any journey from despair to trust. Although God avoids all the questions that Job and his friends threw up, He lovingly leads his son beyond the horizons of his own world of suffering. By God’s word the healing is effected. Christians are charged with instilling a hope in those who suffer loss or bereavement, to help them find meaning for a continuing existence in a world of fading certainties.

No one is comforted or helped by the crass assertion that tempests and floods are the result of God sitting in judgment upon our rebellion.

  • Bob

    Flood planes?

    What can you mean? Are you saying our current woes have been caused by the evil Tory government commissioning a gigantic fleet of Canadairs to scoop up water from the ocean and dump it all over “oop Narth” in an attempt to flush all remaining Labour voters down the pan?

    If you hear it on this blog, it must be true.

  • Uncle Brian

    The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

  • alternative_perspective

    I don’t think you can use Gods promise not to destroy mankind in a flood as proof that this isn’t an act of judgement.

    But of course it wasn’t an act of judgement. Where is the Jonah, where is the Nathan etc. etc. without a clear prophetic word to the people well in advance I cannot see that this could be classed as a judgement.

    That’s not to say all storms etc are without judgemental dimensions. There seems to be a spooky correlation between storms and earthquakes etc. For those nations which would try to divide the land of Israel.

    But in general, I completely affirm our Grace’s interpretation.

    On a second point I think there is a question of perspective with regard to the proverbs and psalms. It would seem that over the decades and intergenerationally those nations, families and individuals that order themselves justly and in general coherence with Gods law prosper. I think that is self evident when one looks at the Judeo-Christian nations of the Earth, say in contrast to other nations following a different worldview. That’s not to say this is an entitlement that exists in perpetuity but a statement of generality.

    But then in the moment and for certain individuals there can be immense suffering without reason, in contradiction to proverbs – perhaps this in part is why the world is under judgement. Here, at this magnification the world behaves differently. Perhaps analogously to the domains of physics described by relativity and quantum mechanics. Both seem true but at different scales one has the upper hand over the other.

    So I see it as a matter of perspectives: the here and now, the instantaneous versus the long term generational view. So its not a matter of true or false but alternative perspectives.

    • nations, families and individuals that order themselves justly and in general coherence with God’s law prosper…in contrast to other nations following a different worldview

      The nations of black Africa appear to be an exception. An English surgeon in South Africa wrote to the Daily Telegraph last year:

      ‘I have seen the destruction of the country’s infrastructure since 1994, when Nelson Mandela took over. All of my friends and colleagues have either emigrated or been murdered. We have decided to move to Australia. I am saddened to leave such a once-beautiful country, and I see no hope for it.’

      King Goodwill Zwelithini is of the same opinion:

      ‘The official king of South Africa’s Zulu tribe has announced that that country was economically, militarily, and socially better under white Afrikaner rule—and that history will judge blacks as only having destroyed everything that they had inherited from the white government.’

      To prosper, race would seem to be as important as Christian belief, perhaps more important.

      • Inspector General

        It is not widely known that the black South African thinks himself a cut above other black Africans. Those of colour who emigrate to South Africa for work are left in no doubt by the reception they receive when they arrive, and thereafter. Perhaps the black South African has a point. It seems his country is taking longer to collapse than the rest of sub Saharan Africa where the black man was left to get on with it himself…

        • carl jacobs

          the black South African thinks himself a cut above other black Africans.

          The nature of racism is found not in its explicit assertion of inferiority but in its implicit assertion of superiority. It allows a man to look down in pride upon another, and declare any observed differences to be evidence of his innate ascendancy in the hierarchy of men. In pride does he say to himself “You exist to declare the glory of me.”

          Man exists to declare the glory of God. So also do men seek to supplant God from His throne by saying “Some men exist to declare the glory of other men.” As it is written “I will be like the Most High.”

          • Inspector General

            Carl. The Inspector has never used the concept of race to justify pride, or to take pleasure in a feeling of superiority, per se. Any such feeling is the by product of knowing that his own race is a damn sight better behaved than others.

            Instead, race is a good apologist for why some peoples practice harmful pursuits and suffer as a result. Or continually have an expectant hand outstretched, or in extreme cases, wish to make war on anyone who is not like them.

            Hierarchy exists in humanity. It is self evident, as a visit to the black neighbourhoods in America will convince you. Those at the lower end would do well to compare themselves to the more successful and see if there is room for improvement. Of course, there is room for improvement – it’s whether they are bright enough to see it. Such is the reliance we all have on IQ. If the overall IQ of a people is insufficient, there will be no change. And unless intervention takes place, or perhaps that should be until, there will be no hope…

          • carl jacobs

            Inspector

            You say …

            The Inspector has never used the concept of race to justify pride, or to take pleasure in a feeling of superiority, per se.

            And then you immediately follow that assertion with …

            Any such feeling is the by product of knowing that his own race is a damn sight better behaved than others.

            Do you really not comprehend that sentence 2 is a direct contradiction of sentence 1?

            Hierarchy exists in humanity.

            And where do you say you fit into that hierarchy by virtue of your racial composition?

          • Inspector General

            Carl. What does Carl Jacobs and African pygmies have in common? The answer, very little. Why? Because of race. Did Carl Jacobs give any serious thought to marrying a pygmy? No. Why? because of race.

            One has always had an affection for pygmies, little fellow humans that they are, but do read their Wiki entry. The poor things are kept as slaves by other African peoples and even hunted as game and eaten! Dreadful stuff. Must be a racial thing out there…

            Oh yes, in answer to your final question, one finds his own ancestry places your man here at the very top of the hierarchy.

            Fancy that!

          • carl jacobs

            What does Carl Jacobs and African pygmies have in common?

            We are both created in the image of God. We are both morally responsible creatures. We both have an immortal soul. We are both capable of receiving eternal life. We were goth created to glorify God and enjoy him forever. We have in common everything of eternal consequence.

            Did Carl Jacobs give any serious thought to marrying a pygmy?

            To get to the heart of your question … I told my daughters that I did not care what race of man they might marry. Which woman chooses wisely? The woman who chooses a white man who will deny his covenant, or the the woman who chooses a black man who will keep it?

          • Inspector General

            The question is Carl, what can we do to help the pygmies. Of course, it is their dashed bad luck that their oppressors are not white. We could have freed them by next year it that was the case, with third world condemnation on our side, and Mr Cameron to fly in battalions…

          • Dreadnaught

            The question is Carl, what can we do to help the pygmies.

            Supply them with stilts and long overcoats?

          • Inspector General

            Have you been drinking sea water again, Dredders?

        • CliveM

          IG

          You are not an ill educated man. I wonder therefore how you can look at White European history and come to the conclusion that we are any better then the African. Unless you think our ability to outdo the African on genocide and ethnic cleansing shows our superiority?

          • Inspector General

            That’s an easy one. European wars were one side of men at arms against another. African wars target the population…

          • CliveM

            IG

            you know enough of history to know that is nonsense. Think of what the Germans did in Eastern Europe, particularly Poland. It was genocide, nor war.

          • Phil R

            What the Germans did was apply Darwin’s Theory.

            BTW, we are no better today. We just use abortion to weed out what we consider undesirable, or even potentially undesirable.

          • CliveM

            Making no claims that we are morally better.

          • Inspector General

            One would have staked £100 that you would naturally use the NAZIs to denigrate the overall trend. Do ignore them for this exercise, Clive, they were one offs That way, the Inspector’s argument is so much the stronger, and yours collapses….

          • CliveM

            Well if you also ignore the Serbs in Bosnia, or the Russians in the Ukraine. Or the French in Tunisia. Or the Belgiums in the Congo.

            That’s just a start. There is a lot we would have to ignore before your argument makes any sense.

          • Inspector General

            Your selections hardly rate against what happens in Africa to Africans by Africans. Indeed, they are natural killers and slavers…

          • CliveM

            Really have you checked the numbers?

          • Inspector General

            Let’s start with 800,000 Rwandans…

          • CliveM

            Ok estimates vary between 3 to 10 million killed by Belgium in the Congo.

          • Inspector General

            The Inspector does not dispute something awful happened while the Belgians were in the Congo, but is unsure what or indeed why. And when you have an estimate of lives lost varying by 7 million, it looks as if no one else does either.

            Could it be the natives were extremely warlike, and resisted colonisation. The same thing happened in Britain when the Romans arrived. Should the Romans have gone home, to leave us forever living on the tops of hills, covered in blue war paint.

            The Belgians thought they would be there for good. And acted accordingly. They say ‘no pain, no gain’. The country had to be pacified. It is the way of man, whether you like it, or not.

          • CliveM

            Well that’s the point isn’t it. Whether black, white or whatever, none of us have any claim to being ‘better’ or ‘superior’.

          • Inspector General

            No, you’re missing the point. Government policy which includes killing (such as the UK’s efforts in Syria) is one thing. Individual behaviour, quite another.

          • CliveM

            So as the Rewandan genocide was Govt inspired we can ignore that then?

          • Inspector General

            Not really. From what the Inspector has deduced from the tragic happening, government troops were in the minority. We have to face the reality that the most of it was carried out by the non military population with farming implements. Probably provided to the Rwandans by Western charity.

            That it was a case of ‘mass hysteria’ seems to fulfil the necessary of the reason why. A country wide mass hysteria affecting a people with a low intellect…

      • carl jacobs

        What is “race” that men should be mindful of it? Tell to me its essence such that it differentiates one man from another.

        • @ carl jacobs—Franz Boas’ hypothesis that there are no differences between the races is one of the foundation stones of multiculturalism. Fraud built upon fraud.

          • carl jacobs

            That doesn’t answer my question. What is “race”?

          • Phil R

            It is not race any more Carl

            The Newspeak is populations, people(s), ethnic groups, or communities.

          • Dreadnaught

            Would that be Sigmund Fraud by any chance?

          • @ Dreadnaught—Haha. Sigmund Fraud’s bright idea was that sexual incontinence would improve Western societies no end.

          • Anton

            God divided us by language for our own good. We have differing languages – from which stem differing cultures – but it’s nothing to do with genes (in particular skin colour). We are all children of Adam.

          • @ Anton—If we were all the same under the skin, this kind of work would not be necessary: ‘This article reviews the genetic factors that underlie varying responses to medicines observed among different ethnic and racial groups. Pharmacogenetic research in the past few decades has uncovered significant differences among racial and ethnic groups in the metabolism, clinical effectiveness, and side-effect profiles of many clinically important drugs.’

          • Anton

            It’s hardly surprising that people living in the tropics have evolved better resistance to tropical diseases etc. But no genes for culture have remotely been identified and of course all races of person are fully interfertile.

          • @ Anton—no genes for culture have remotely been identified

            Neanderthal DNA is present in all humans except sub-Saharan Africans. I’ll leave you to draw the conclusion.

          • Anton

            I have an unconventional attempt to reconcile DNA with Genesis that probably just about everybody here would disagree with albeit for differing reasons. I’m genuinely not sure what conclusion you mean me to draw.

          • Anna055

            Where is the research for this (not trying to catch you out….I’m just interested to read it).

          • Inspector General

            Anna. From Wiki.

            “The Neanderthal genome project published papers in 2010 and 2014 stating that Neanderthals contributed to the DNA of modern humans, including most non-Africans as well as a few African populations, through interbreeding, likely between 50,000 to 60,000 years ago.[17][18][19]”

          • Anna055

            Thank you.(sorry….the machine wouldn’t let me repeat my comment to and Johnny Rottenborough above)

          • @ Anna055—New Scientist published this article in 2010 on interbreeding between humans and Neanderthals. I have heard more recently that humans may have acquired their Neanderthal DNA from an ancestor common to both species. Which theory currently predominates I couldn’t say.

            The fifth paragraph: ‘Neanderthals didn’t live in Africa, which is why sub-Saharan African populations have no trace of Neanderthal DNA.’

          • Inspector General

            One understands that although the Neanderthal did not live in Africa, its ancestry is from there. Development of the species outside of ‘the garden of Eden’ was where essential survival skills were gained. It is the passing of these skills, through gene inheritance, INCLUDING THE ADVANTAGES OF CO-OPERATION, through interbreeding which was so crucial for Homo Sapiens Sapiens to thrive when it took its turn to leave the dark continent…

          • @ IG—In white countries, cooperation with other races is now being tested to destruction. Perhaps it was their ability to cooperate that did for the Neanderthals: killed by their own kindness.

          • Inspector General

            Indeed, JR. From what has happened in Paris and many other examples, we are clearly being seen as prey. This will not be lost on our children and their children.

          • Anna055

            Thank you Johnny Rottenborough and Inspector General……….I’ve always found genetics interesting.

  • john in cheshire

    I think a more pertinent quote from a song might be from the Fleetwood Mac song, Oh Well. ” Now when I talk to God I know he’ll understand. He says stick by me and I’ll be your guiding hand but don’t ask me what I think of you, I might not give the answer that you want me to.”

  • Irene’s Daughter

    Pr 22:17,19 Pay attention and listen to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach, …. So that your trust may be in the LORD, I teach you today, even you.

    Rev 3:19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.

    So what can we learn from the Christmas disasters around the world? The most important is that humanity, which thinks itself so clever, actually has no answers to the mighty powers of fire, water and earthquake. But God has. The time has come to understand the rebuke from the One who loves us and repent from turning away from Him. Just turn back to Him and ask for His help.

    • sarky

      “But God has” – and yet once again he does…..nothing. its almost as though he doesnt exist.

  • Inspector General

    One of the more bizarre claims (some of) mankind lays ownership to is the weather, of all things. That it should remain as it has always been in living memory. More than should, perhaps must, always. That when it go its own merry way and wreaks havoc, then someone is to blame. So, there’s no one else around, it must be us. WE are the people who drowned the north of England. WE are guilty.

    All part of Original Sin then. WE are the guilty, as usual…

    • IanCad

      Thus the theology underpinning the religion of Climate Change.

    • DanJ0

      It’s all because of Canal Street in Manchester.

      • Inspector General

        You stay well clear of that canal and area in general. You might catch something that can’t be treated…

      • sarky

        It flapped its wings and flooded York.

      • God’s washing away the filth of sinners Danj0

        • sarky

          Only ones living by rivers or on flood plains though. Sinners living on hills are quite safe.

        • DanJ0

          I’ve always thought people in Cumbria looked rather shifty compared to other people. Now we all know what sort of stuff they’ve been doing in their spare time, the filthy devils.

          And as for those degenerates in York! :O

  • len

    God Judged mankind 2,000 yrs ago on the Cross at Calvary.We judge ourselves by how we respond to the Cross of Jesus Christ.
    We have lived in a period of God’s Grace but that time will ultimately end much as it did in ‘the times of Noah’ when the sinful were separated from those to be saved.Noah and his family escaped but all those outside the Ark perished.

    The time for decision is now and what happens in the future depends on our decision as regards the Cross.

    The famines, droughts, and the floods happening now speak of the imbalance in the Earth and the imbalance in our society also speaks of the need to restore God`s Creation back to its rightful owner.

    • Inspector General

      You are an idiot…

      • Martin

        IG

        Not at all.

        • Inspector General

          “imbalance in the Earth”. The stuff of Lunatics…

          • Martin

            IG

            There is an imbalance, because of the Fall and curse. Basic Christian doctrine.

          • Inspector General

            Oh Lord….

          • len

            Try louder?

          • Inspector General

            Be off with you…

          • Dreadnaught

            No one is comforted or helped by the crass assertion that tempests and floods are the result of God sitting in judgment upon our rebellion.

            Like the excessive rainfall; something else that hasn’t sunk in yet.

          • Martin

            Dreadnaught

            Actually, as I pointed out, His Grace is wrong. What hasn’t sunk in as yet, with many, is the appalling level of our nation’s wickedness.

          • len

            Romans 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
            Inspector;
            IF there was no fall of man,
            IF there was no curse upon the Earth, then there was no need for Christ to die upon the cross, and your religion is a total waste of time.

            Exactly what religion are you following?.

          • sarky

            You said it!

          • len

            The biggest deception ever is that man without God can be ‘free’….

            “You can be ‘as God’.”….or the ‘new age’ “we are all gods” or the atheistic “there is no God.”…..are all satanic deceptions.

            If anyone needed evidence of’ the fall of man’ then we do not need to look very far? When man’ fell’ he found that the more he desired to ‘be good ‘or to ‘do good ‘ the tighter the sin nature acquired when man ‘fell’ binds him. The evidence of ‘fallen man’ is everywhere…..

            Now to vindicate his ‘nature’ fallen man says “this is the way I am, now accept me as I am”. And ‘the world is adjusting to this ‘philosophy’ of man.
            But God has shown us man as He created him to be …Jesus Christ ….anything less is not acceptable to Him….

          • sarky

            “The evidence of ‘fallen man’ is everywhere…..’

            No, the evidence of human nature is everywhere, good and bad.

          • len

            If all is human nature then there is no ‘right’ and no ‘wrong’ its all just ‘human nature.’

            Good is’ bad’ and bad is’ good’ depending on your viewpoint…..

          • sarky

            Isnt that how it’s always been?

          • Inspector General

            Will you stop it…

      • len

        Oh dear…..

    • chiefofsinners

      Yes- the wheat and the tares grow together, but harvest is coming.

      • len

        Amen

  • David

    Nations that broadly live in accordance with God’s laws tend to proper, simply because His laws were written, not to frustrate us, but to impart wisdom and to protect us from our own folly. But try telling that to today’s post-modern self-worshippers, foolishly swollen with their own pride and self regard. This self-centredness removes from us understanding of both God and his created earth, which has its own laws and climatic oscillations.

    However there is always the danger that the blind and ungodly will use what they claim to be God’s laws in order to manipulate us, and privilege themselves. So we need to be watchful against the tyranny of impostors. The best test of who truly is speaking God’s truth is the simple, “by their fruits ye shall know them”. So the liars, cheats and ungodly soon reveal themselves to all those who look, study and thoughtfully consider the times that they live in, which was essentially the role that the OT prophets had, as do contemporary prophets. But the watchman needs to be be vigilant and thoughtful, long to consider and slow to speak, always taking a longer term view, so as not to be swayed by each passing fashion or whim. Our society is of course far away from having these simple qualities of wisdom, patience and long-term self-restraint.

    But the flooding of houses and settlements is not God’s vengeance on a sinful nation. It simply reflects the ever changing cycles of our wonderfully dynamic global climates. Plus of course, despite our considerable scientific knowledge, the foolishness of our society forgetting the previous wisdoms of generations that lived closer to nature than most do now. My professional and personal opinion has long been that, basically much of the country is severely overpopulated. So river valleys and flood plains carry too high a population, too low down, and our sealed surfaces channel too much water, too quickly down human narrowed conduits, with disastrous results, sadly.Then in so many ways we exacerbate the problems associated with nature’s constantly varying hydrological cycle, by for example misusing the grounds’ natural porosity, resulting in excessively, unmanageably, “peaky” surges impacting through our built environments. We need to stop treating the land as if it were a machine, to be totally managed, and learn to accept that its parameters cannot ultimately, be set by us. It is God’s earth and we are its tenants, not owners. Porosity and flow rates are set for us, not by us, for God’s sake ! Treated wisely and well the earth affords us a good, rich living, but if we try to engineer it excessively and confine it, it will bite back and cause us harm and misery. Let us hope that society learns the wisdom and humility that will allow us to live more conformed to both God’s law and this beautiful earth that we are so fortunate to be loaned.

  • Martin

    Perhaps someone should read the passage where Jesus was told of the tower in Siloam again:

    There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
    (Luke 13:1-5 [ESV]

    The implication is that those upon whom the tower fell were deserving of their fate, as were His hearers. We are equally worthy of such judgement, as is our nation. Nowhere does God say that He will not punish a nation, and our nation that has profaned marriage, thus making it ripe for judgement.

    We also take part in the laughable claims that we can affect the weather, it would be appropriate that God should make it quite clear that we have no power over such things,

  • “God loves us, so He makes us the gift of suffering. Through suffering, we release our hold on the toys of this world and know our true good lies in another world.

    We’re like blocks of stone, out of which the sculptor carves the forms of men. The blows of his chisel, which hurt us so much, are what make us perfect. The suffering in this world is not the failure of God’s love for us; it is that love in action.

    For believe me, this world that seems to us so substantial is no more than the shadow lands. Real life has not begun yet.“
    (C.S. Lewis, Shadowlands)

    “We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
    (C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain)

    • David

      Good quotes from one of my favourite 20th C Christians.

    • Greeting, HJ! Good to see you around here, Dude. Did you get my “card”? It went to Ward 4 at Western Gen’l, but might have arrived afyer you transferred.

      • Thanks, Avi. Sadly, I didn’t get your card but the Western General are forwarding them so maybe it’ll come during the week. Jack has been humbled by all the prayers and good wishes sent his way. What a great blog this is.

        • It’s you travails that have been humbling, Jack. Never thought that seeing that silly avatar of yours pop up here and there would bring me so much joy!

    • Cressida de Nova

      Beautiful and inspirational quotes. Thank you. Remarkable man that CS Lewis. Good to see you posting again.

      • Thank you, Cressie. Also, a big thank you for the card which I received yesterday.

  • carl jacobs

    Job’s complaint was that being innocent he still received evil. In essence, Job was claiming that God owed him good for good. He believed the innocent deserved to be treated as innocent and yet here Job was being treated as the guilty. How could this be? He would demand of God an answer to this question. This is why God responds to Job by asking “Will you condemn me that you may be in the right?” But the whole point of Job’s trial is that man owes God worship not because God gives good things to man, but because God is God. The answer that Job receives is “Who do you think you are? I am God. You aren’t. Can you do what I do? Can you know what I know?”

    At the end, Job sees God and comprehends the difference between God and man. He abhors himself and repents of his arrogance. That’s the universal response of men when confronted with the Holiness of God. And it is why only a fool would expect to argue his case before God come the Last Judgment. The guilt of man will be manifest at that moment, and all he will be able to say is “Earth, cover me up.”

    • chiefofsinners

      When the question was asked ‘will a man condemn God to justify himself?’, it was rhetorical. But the ultimate truth is that God had to be condemned in order for man to be justified.

      • IanCad

        It started pretty early; as in Genesis, when Adam blamed God for “–the woman whom thou gavest to be with me –“

  • David

    For those like me that seek truth not just in the Christian faith, but also want to know the scientific facts behind events, plus any political linkages that may be operating, you may wish to note this.
    On the Ukip website today we have a reminder, of the truth that emerged just after the Somerset Levels flooding. One big change is that now, under the EU directives, in force since 20000, we have been stopped from dredging the main rivers, and cleaning out the smaller ones by machines, in order to prioritise wildlife. So as is the way with rivers, gravels rapidly build up, shallowing the river, decreasing the rate of flow and increasing the chances that it will burst its banks after sustained periods of excessive rain.
    Clearly a country with a very low population, few buildings near the rivers and on the flood plains and far, far less impermeable surfaces could live with a more natural, undredged river basin management basin, which would benefit the wildlife. But that is not where we are as a society. Clearly rivers represent complex systems and many factors are relevant. But clearly a densely developed urban area requires an active management system if large numbers of people are to live down, near the water. However the one size fits all theorists of the EU are having none of it. So once again people of the country suffer because we have made our local, time honoured wisdoms subject to the imperious iron rule of Brussels.

    • Dreadnaught

      Not that I am a lover of the EU but I don’t think today’s floods can really be its fault. Take for instance the River Irwell that has hit Manchester – its nothing new.

      ‘The lower reaches of the Irwell have flooded many times in its history, the most well documented being the floods of 1866, 1946, 1954, 1980, and 2007. In December 1816 rapidly thawing snow caused the river to flood, sweeping away a considerable amount of property including building materials and livestock. Locals reported the height of the river to have been almost as great as a more serious flood of 1768… In 1866, the “year of the great Flood”, rain fell for three continuous days commencing on Tuesday 13 November. By the end of the first day, the river had risen 14 feet (4.3 m) above normal at Peel Park, street lamps could not be lit and mills were brought to a stop.’

      WiKi

      • David

        No not totally of course, as I said.
        Flood basins are complex, dynamic multi-variate systems that we are still only just beginning to understand and model convincingly. But the fact of non-dredging must be taken into account.

        • Dreadnaught

          Dredging is not a common requirement in these rivers whose beds are virtually scree and boulders. The problems here arise when large-scale vegetation is released by the torrent, undermining the banking and lodging on boulders, wiers and bridges. Flood plains are intrinsically part of the river system yet get paid very little attention if they have not flooded within a couple of generations: palms are greased, planning permission is granted then the tears begin.

          • David

            Some useful points there I’ll grant you. We really do need a thorough hydrological analysis of why this happened and to what extent it is down to human folly, for which future alleviation may be possible.

          • Dreadnaught

            Localised flooding is the symptom of more frequent, excessive rainfall on over already loaded ground and not so much directly attributable to flood defence failure. The climate globally is where we have to concentrate attention to understand future protection requirements. For instance this year is heavily influenced by another El Nino event which has given rise to saturated equatorial air being driven up towards the UK. This would normally have been deposited as snow in the northern polar regions, then locked in as glacial deposits.
            There is no doubt in my mind that that climate change is being driven by global warming. Climate change is a natural phenomenon and the planet will regulate itself without regard to the existence of humanity. Water covers 75% of the surface area and it simply goes around in it its various states whether locked in the polar regions or atmosphere or oceans.
            Meltwater from glaciers adding to the enclosed hydrological system can only result in higher sea levels which mean a reduction in salinity, increased evaporation and disruption by the slowing of predictable ocean currents such as the Gulf Stream.
            The entire system is heat driven and unless more of that heat is dissipated through and beyond the atmospheric envelope the result is what we are witnessing today will become the new norm.
            How much of this is directly attributable to man made conditions will always be argued by politicians and big business, directed and confused by vested interests on both sides. What can not be argued is the increased frequency of the extreme weather events that has given us here warmer wetter winter seasons and increases of desertification elsewhere on the planet.
            Plants from moss to trees; glaciers and clouds, are water storage tanks, strip them away and the result is obvious
            What we need to do is in the short term learn how to live with the results that are going to be with use long after our lifetimes.

          • David

            Well done, you have clearly been working to gain a useful amount of hydrological and meteorological knowledge. Huge forces are at work. The climate is changing, as it always has. Whether it’s influenced much, if at all, by our puny efforts, or the solar output cycles, as the main driver is difficult to say with certainty. Certainly those who for the purposes of politics or financial gain confidently state it is all down to anthropogenic climate change, fail to account for the unsure and still developing state of our scientific knowledge. I agree absolutely with you that the realistic thing to do is to learn how to cope with these changes and adjust. However I don’t think that, in the case of N.England this is just localised flooding. Rather, it is a geographically widespread net, with localised expressions of response, in the different river basin systems, which are often connected at their watersheds, responding to the large scale meteorological dynamics delivering the water vapour, as part of the global conveyor systems. El Nino may, as you imply, be having its cyclical effects here as elsewhere. Happy research…

          • Dreadnaught

            It was part of my degree to examine the implications and obligations on nations that lead to the 1992 Rio conference on climate change. IN 1992, countries joined an international treaty, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC), to consider what they could do to limit global temperature increases and the resulting climate change, and to cope with its impacts.

            Its worth noting also that it took many years to set up that meeting let alone do something appropriate. Global awareness recognised that the climate was becoming less stable 30 or 40 yeas ago; it’s not like it is something just pulled out of a Christmas Cracker.

          • David

            Ahh that’s really interesting. Thanks for that. In your last post your knowledge shone through clearly. You can’t fake this if you don’t really know, as it is fairly complex stuff.

            My underlying knowledge is little used but can still be kick-started into life. I try to keep it refreshed with the latest findings. My first academic love was as a science orientated Physical Geographer + Geologist. They’d call it Earth Sciences nowadays. Meteorology was taught us by one of the early users of satellite imagery – a brilliant but autistic sort of cove. I almost became a Geophysicist, but switched to take a Master’s in Town Planning; I used that knowledge, to study urban modifications of natural hydrological systems. This understanding became vital when 15 years later my team designed a small new town to sit at the top of watershed, as I was the only sufficiently broad-based one who could link and communicate between all the many imputing disciplines, and know what they were all talking about, if they stuck to simple mathematical models and plain English.

          • Dreadnaught

            David it really is a most complex subject but fascinating if one does not become fearful of the future and do the Ostrich to preserve your sanity. I certainly don’t profess to hold the key to the solution by any means – maybe its too late already to remedy anything that can be accomplished in our own lifetimes. Not the legacy I would have wished to pass on to my grandsons at all; and I feel personally guilty for that.
            For pure interest you may wish to take a look at this link

            https://jules.jchmr.org/community/meetings/june-2010/Dadson.pdf

          • David

            I am extremely pleased to bump into someone else who gets as excited as I do about the earth’s processes. It is tiny minority of a minority that enjoys this.

            Your link is, as some Yanks say, “awesome”. Geomorphology was my favourite discipline. I was accepted to do a Masters in research at McGill, Canada, on permafrost, freeze-thaw soil heave. But my life’s choices – career wise – were for the best overall.

            I don’t fear for the earth, as guided by God’s laws, it will self-balance. We will, if we are wise, adjust to whatever climate changes are thrown at us.

            But I do worry about the cultural vandalism and the deliberate destruction of our heritage of Christianity, and Scientific Enlightenment type, rational thinking. Our ever more confused, feminist, hedonist crazed society is losing its nerve and pointing the joystick downwards, as it were, onto a mighty big collision course – with three heavy objects – Secularism, Radical Islam and Christian Apostasy – Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali gets it about right in his book.

          • Dreadnaught

            True secularism is the natural preserve for religious tolerance in 21st Century western culture. Using it in the same bracket as radical Islam I find, is rather more the clamour of despair for what is happening to Christianity through the apathy of Christians. Where are the mass marches on Parliament or the likes of the Regent Street Mosque for the atrocities being perpetrated committed in the name of Islam?
            Why do Christians fall over themselves to accommodate ‘moderate’ Muslims who in the blink of an eye become ‘radicalised’?
            What ever happened to Onward Christian Soldiers? much easier I guess to usurp the meaning of secular from a positive to a negative and blame all their ills on anyone but themselves.

          • David

            I agree about the apathy of western Christians. The strength has moved south to Africa and east to China. Most Christians are disappointedly weak I find.

          • Martin

            Dreadnaught

            If by secularism you mean the bigotry of the Atheist I’m afraid you are wrong. And remember, Atheism and its pseudo secularism gave us Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot.

          • Good points, except that we need to remember that the claims on the supposed increase of extreme weather events are problematic and heavily politicised. Population increases in coastal areas and flood plains, better weather detection and reporting, along with a paucity of historic weather data and suppression of any challenges to the man-made global warming/climate change mantra are the most obvious sources of confusion. Welcome to the Holocene in whose brief gift of life-sustaining warming we bask, and pray that it willl hold, I say.

          • Dreadnaught

            It’s nowhere the full picture Avi, neither is the understanding of the causes and consequences of unavoidable climate change.
            As a species we can only do what we can and that will be precious little. We can’t change what nature sets itself to do except buy for our kind a little more time – perhaps.

      • John Moore.

        It certainly is its fault. Read Christopher Booker in the Telegraph today… he gives all the details and history. It certainly was the reason for the Somerset trouble a couple of years ago. I’ve known that part all my life and everything was properly maintained by the old Somerset Rivers Board. But modern politicians local or national always cut down on proper maintenance when they can’t balance the books and have little practical experience to understand its importance. If a river has six feet of muck at the bottom it will rise by that amount in heavy rain.

        • Dreadnaught

          I don’t need to read Booker to appreciate that the Somerset Levels are different to the Pennine watercourses such as the Irwell and the majority of upland rivers and their tributaries. I quoted historical references but that seems to have passed you by.

          • John Moore.

            Why do people on these sites have to resort to personal abuse. Of course your points of historical interest have not ‘passed me by’ — that was about the River Irwell which I didn’t think was the subject of the present floods. The worst flood of the present one in Cumbria was in 1898 I have read. The present rules from the EU as listed by Booker was that dredging maintenance should cease and ‘nature should take its course’. This was in 2002 I think — when I was asked to serve on a County Council ‘conservation forum’ which liked the idea and the ‘back to nature’ brigade were in fashion. Glad to hear that the CC have withdrawn funding and it has ceased…

          • IanCad

            John,

            Please do not infer from this comment that it is “Personal Abuse.” But, in Dreadnaught’s post, I cannot wring from it anything that could possibly cause offence.
            That is; unless you are so overly sensitive that, to continue in this blogging environment, would be hazardous to your health.

  • chiefofsinners

    Why me? Selfish people that we are, we ask the question at the wrong time. Elizabeth asked this question when Mary visited her. “Why am I so honoured that the mother of my Lord should visit me?”
    A right understanding of our sinfulness will lead us to ask “can it be that I should gain an interest in the Saviour’s blood?”

  • steroflex

    “A fertile land maketh he barren for the wickedness of those who dwell therein.”
    Flooding:
    1. How much is due to a refusal to dredge?
    2. How much is due to the Green Lobby led by George Monbiot of the Guardian designing rivers that are guaranteed to flood?
    3. How viable is the assumption that we might as well give in because it is all Global Warming anyway?
    4. How much is due to a population increase caused by an insistence of sex, sex and more sex at the expense of families and child bearing? This of course creates a vacuum which has to be filled with immigrants who flood in from all over the world and who cause building in the flood plains as the population explodes?
    Only asking…

    • dannybhoy

      And building new housing estates on flood plains..
      We live in an ever changing world and some of those changes take a long time to manifest, others are more immediate.
      We may have to accept that some areas of habitation will no longer be viable in furture, and start building on higher ground or on concrete columns..

  • Ivan M

    Job was a plaything of the entity that passed for God. Satan was passing along “going hither and thither”, when “God” played a Loki on Job. It is a great reworking of the common myth that both good and evil have the same source

    • dannybhoy

      “5 I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:
      6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else.
      7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.”

      • chiefofsinners

        Some translations of verse 7 are better – making it clear that God brings calamities but is not the author of evil.

        • dannybhoy

          Sssssh!
          I deliberately chose the KJV version..

        • Better? Unlike the KJV, which in this instance stays true to the text, the New International Version Bible blatantly alters Isaiah’s words, and theological implications, by mistranslating the Hebrew רָע (ra) for “evil” as “disaster.”

          • carl jacobs

            The NIV is a “sense of the verse” translation and should best be avoided for that reason. It’s not a good study Bible.

          • I’ve seen Jewish equivalents or attempts to mitigate the discomfort these statements in Deuteronomy and Isaiah generate, although few attempt to radically redefine scripture or word meaning through this “sense of verse” device. Instead, it’s done through far-fetched commentary based on the Zohar and other mystical interpretations. As I’ve said before, you’d make a good Jew, in the no-nonsense, cut-the-fairy-tales “puritan” rationalistic stream I favour.

          • Sam

            Dude

            I think we can’t fully grasp the nature of God, as even Judah ha Levi mentions in his famous Jewish apologetic. If God is Avinu Malkeinu , a father and a king , I’d say he can be jealous, loving and wrathful at the same time , with a whole host of other attributes as to his nature as well.

            In Job for example , God is taking a bet with the accusing angel, Satan ,about how loyal Job was going to be , which can lead to all sorts of conclusions about God, not all positive.

            But then we can’t sugar coat God, tempting as that may be. I’d rather try and understand God “warts and all” on His terms than make him into my own idolatrous ideal of some loving care bear type deity. Plus in our Jewish tradition there is an element of arguing and questioning God’s actions and often God wanting people to challenge him.

            My qualms are : I can’t buy the argument that contemporary natural disasters or disasters are a sign of God’s punishments for sin or wrongdoing. In the Bible , there was clear context and often warnings or warning signs/prophets etc to tell us when we were wayward . And I believe that it said the days of biblical prophets are over, which is why Jews could automatically reject Islam.

          • chiefofsinners

            This is true. All translations are of necessity partial paraphrases, but some take it further than others.

          • Sam

            Dude

            Which is why it is always best to have a Hebrew bible /Tanakh/Humash in its traditional language to hand .

          • chiefofsinners

            Or for those of us less well versed in Hebrew and Greek, an interlinear original language / English version coded to Strong’s concordance and a good dictionary of Bible words.

          • Sam

            Dude

            Interesting. Most of the evangelists I know , use NIV. The Jesus army used the king James version or least one with thees and thous . Like the Mormons (I’m reading through their books /bible/doctrines , which they gave out for free). A messianic Jew I’ve met uses a thoroughly irritating translation with substitutes key English words for Yiddish and to make a complete hash of the flow of the text. Jesus saying “Oy vey” is just strange to read.

          • carl jacobs

            The NIV is easy to read. That’s why people like it. But making it easy to read comes at the expense of subtly distorting certain concepts. It’s not bad for the basic stuff – which is what an Evangelist would focus on. But it should never be used for serious study.

            One of the Mormon books you are reading is called the Pearl of Great Price. It is allegedly the record of Abraham’s sojourn in Egypt. In the 1830’s a woman (iirc) brought a papyrus manuscript to Joseph that had been found in a sarcophagus with an Egyptian mummy. She asked Smith to translate it. Joseph Smith purported to do so and produced what became know as the PoGP. That manuscript was lost and then subsequently rediscovered in the 1960s in a collection at a University in Chicago. It actually contained marginal notes in Joseph Smith’s handwriting. The Mormon Church acquired that manuscript and had it translated by an independent source to prove the validity of Smith’s revelation.

            The manuscript was in fact a version of the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

          • Sam

            Dude ,

            Actually that is the one I’m reading and I discussed this with Clive m a while back on Hannah’s blog, so I’m aware of this and how an angel told Smith to dig up golden plates to write Mormon at the back of his garden etc. .. Reading something doesn’t imply endorsement. I’ve read lady chatterley’s lover…

          • carl jacobs

            Didn’t mean to imply otherwise. Just thought you would be interested. Most people don’t know the backstory of the PoGP. BTW the Pearl of Great Price is different from the Book of Mormon. The Golden Plates are associated with the Book of Mormon.

          • Sam

            Ah, well thanks for that background information. I’m sure it will come in handy some time.

          • Sam

            Dude

            Also “never be used for serious study”

            I took time out for a year to study in a yeshiva and we had to utilize Hebrew/Aramaic text and sometimes Arabic as Sephardic Rabbis used this as their English of the time.

            PS: I never get why even in protestant circles the Hebrew and Greek isn’t more readily taught for the lay Christian.

          • chiefofsinners

            This word can take multiple shades of meaning. The point here is that God is not the source of moral evil. He cannot be, since He repeatedly described Himself as holy, righteous, sin-hating, good and “of purer eyes than to behold evil” (Habbakuk 1 verse 13)

          • The point that God is not the source of moral evil (we are) is not the issue. The point is that all that is has been created and sustained by God, including evil. The only thing that we can do is to try to comprehend this difficulty and seeming contradiction: that evil was created by an infinitely good God and that it must, therefore serve a greater good. The problem is for us to understand or assimilate somehow, but we can’t do this by redefining the nature of God in plain contradiction to His words.

          • chiefofsinners

            The correct translation of ra in this text can be seen from the accompanying pair of opposites: light and darkness. The contrast here is between shalom and ra. What is the opposite of shalom? Evil in the sense of unwelcome events, not moral evil.
            God is indeed the author of unwelcome events, which we might see as calamity. Floods perhaps. He does also permit evil doers to exist, but that is not what this text teaches.

          • In some ways we are making a similar point, then. Evil in the sense of “unwelcome events” is a human interpretation, one which we arrived due to our inability to see the Big Picture; evil in the sense of human behaviour is a human failing, an inability or unwillingness to follow God’s instructions. My theological objection is to Dualistic doctrines which make evil into an independent entity, which when anthropomorphasized, turns into rebellious and malignant angels, demons devils or forces in purposeful, conscious opposition to God and his Creation.

          • IrishNeanderthal

            Here is G.K.Chesterton’s Introduction to THE BOOK OF JOB

            http://www.cse.dmu.ac.uk/~mward/gkc/books/job.txt

            It’s in terrible text format, but you might find something interesting in it.

          • Hi, Irish. Thanks for the link; I reread it quickly, but I did come across it a few years ago and yes, Chesterton makes some very good points. The book of Yov, some of the rabbis have argued, is a book of fiction, a parable meant to teach and not recount an incident. And some, like Chesterton, argued that it is a humbling reminder that life is a paradox and that we should be ever cautious about drawing conclusions. For me, it is a reminder that prayer, observance of the Law, ethical behaviour and all that we are asked to follow is for our benefits as nations or humanity and rarely as individuals. Jewish prayer has been criticised as formalistic, but the formula stresses the importance of praying for Israel (the people) and the humankind, with only a few exceptions for personal pleading, or prayers on behalf of others, such as in case of misfortune or sickness. Yov, I think, is also a reminder that our ability to understand life’s paradoxes and God’s purpose is limited; God never answered when Moses’ classical question about why bad things happen to good people!

      • Ivan M

        The “Lord” made sure that there was no ambiguity about who the author of Job’s misfortunes was, when he rebuked Job’s buddies who claimed that Job’s own deeds had a hand in his ruin. The “Lord” would have none it.

      • lso:

        “See, I [God] have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil.” (Deuteronomy 30:15)

        That God is the Creator of all there is, is unambiguous. How we interpret this shocking (to us) admission is our problem, but Pagan musings about rebelling and competing angels, demons or forces, or imagining “holes” in Creation by waffling about “absence of good” or God’s “withdrawal” are clearly not an option.

        • dannybhoy

          Avi Habibi.

          How are you? I hope you and your family are well.

          God, and good and evil….

          I read a book just before the Christmas holiday by Keith Ward, “Is Religion Irrational?

          http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11463237-is-religion-irrational

          In chapter 10 he looks at “Is Religion Evil?”, and shares his views on God and evil.

          Another book is “The roots of evil” by Norman Geisler. This link mentions it and his revised and updated “If God why Evil?”

          http://www.bethinking.org/suffering/if-god-why-evil-book-review. Both reviews are worth a read.

          God allows evil, but what kind of evil?
          It seems to me from the Scriptures He allows moral evil that comes from the individual; whether human or angel.

          Evil is not a thing, it is a choice.

          God is light >
          “5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”
          1 John 1:5 (ESVUK)
          So it seems to me that, as a creature with free will turns away from the light of God, they lose their bearings and become morally distorted and corrupted.

    • len

      God gave us the ability to choose light(Him) or the absence of Light darkness (satan)
      So in that respect God created ‘evil’ the absence of Light.
      We have the ability to choose Light but many refuse to come to the Light preferring darkness.

      • sarky

        I dont choose your light, but I certainly don’t live in darkness.

        • len

          How many shades of grey then 😉

          • sarky

            Like I said, I don’t live in darkness and I dont need mumbo jumbo to do it.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            That statement only shows how dark your darkness is.

          • sarky

            And yours only shows how daft your daftness is.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            You’re displaying your darkness.

          • sarky

            Not any more. Went off them after the second album.

      • Ivan M

        What you say about many refusing to come to the Light is true. I have the same tendency myself whenever I pass a red-light district. I know that if I were to sin, it would be absolutely of my own volition. God does not push anyone to sin and eternal death.

        The Book of Job though is the most pagan book there is in the Bible, where the action of the Deity is little different from that of Greek gods in Homer. It is of course one of the great works of world literature.

  • john in cheshire

    The happiest I felt today was in Aldi in Knutsford. I had 3 items, all the queues were long and a young lady let me go in front of her. That gave me a Merry Christmas. There are plenty of ordinary nice people still living in our country.

    • chiefofsinners

      3 items, busy town and a nice young lady. Are you the wise men?

      • john in cheshire

        I wish, haha.

  • chiefofsinners

    Every winter it rains and somewhere floods. Always has, always will. When will we get used to it?

    • Anton

      And thank God for the rainbow covenant.

      • Inspector General

        Ah yes, the rainbow business. One can imagine the ladies of the tribe of Israel berating their men. “The bible is all very well, but other than the talking snake, there’s precious little in there for children…”

      • Indeed. But He didn’t mention surprise asteroid visits or hypervelocity stars which could come barrling out of nowhere to rip a new hole in our galaxy right through our piddly Solar System

        • Martin

          Avi

          I suspect He might know about those afore time.

          • I meant this as a reminder that God has other options if he had to make us disappear, or almost disappear. The question is, was He being literal, in that He wouldn’t destroy us with water, or did he imply that He would never wreak such levels of destruction on us again and used the word for the Flood to mean “universal calamity” in the language of the times.

          • Martin

            Avi

            God’s pretty much described how He will end it, no water or asteroids involved.

  • Phil R

    Notice all the pictures of houses built below the flood plain and flooded in Holland?

    Me neither!

    • Dreadnaught

      Polders!

  • Royinsouthwest

    After much of Lisbon was destroyed by an earthquake in 1755 some theologians claimed that the earthquake was God’s judgement on the city. In response some philosophers pointed out that the red light district escaped with only minor damage. Voltaire also attacked the attitude of theologians in Candide.

    Today we understand what causes earthquakes even though, unfortunately, very little progress has been made in providing useful, reasonably precise warnings of when and where they will strike. People who associate natural disasters with divine judgement strike most people as being simply superstitious and damaging to the credibility of Christianity (and other religions too).

  • preacher

    Sorry to swim against the tide of today’s Blog, but I would like to inject a note of caution. In the past, God has used ” Natural ” events as well as peoples to sound a note of warning. This may be, & often is to call His peoples attention to something that needs changing or rectifying. Whether this is the case here, or not I honestly don’t know. But I wouldn’t just dismiss the case without thought & prayer, because something is wrong somewhere, & the wise seek the Lord for the answer.

    • sarky

      This wise man will look to science for the answer and the solution.

      • IanCad

        Or commonsense; as in not building your house on sand.

        • Anton

          Or on floodplains.

          • IanCad

            I’m making a wild guess here Anton; but I would suggest that upwards of 75% of the world’s population live on a flood plain.
            Of course, that is where most food is grown.
            The floods on the Somerset Levels were not very high. Had the homes in that area been elevated two to three feet, the damage would have been minimal.
            There is probably no one on this forum more vehement in his disgust of the EU than myself, however, their directive on letting rivers resume their natural functions makes a lot of sense.
            At least, to me.

          • Anton

            “I would suggest that upwards of 75% of the world’s population live on a flood plain.”

            Quite possibly, but I have the English floods in mind and, in view of our national rainfall pattern, I suggest that a much smaller percentage of our population lives on a flood plain. I treasure a tart comment of Will Durant in his fine multivolume history of civilisation: “The English people lived in a climate more favorable to vegetation than to health” (from the chapter Wyclif, Chaucer, and the Great Revolt).

          • IanCad

            I’ll second your recommendation and shall also hurry to take off my hat to Ariel; lest any lurking feminists call us to task.

          • Anton

            Her name appeared only on the later volumes, and not on that one. Great piece of writing!

          • David

            “makes a lot of sense to me…”
            Why ?
            If few of us lived on flood plains, in simple structures with no electrics or electronics and with only basic wooden furniture, no upholstery, soft furnishings or carpets – as we did in previous centuries, then yes, perhaps yes. Herds were generally moved up onto safer land and the families’ few possessions and precious tools could be shifted up as well. In fact a regular inundation, and depositing silt, provided the very fertility of the land that attracted people to well watered “bottom wash lands”, that commanded high prices.

            But none of this applies to today’s packed, urban areas, with houses stuffed with hydrophobic electrics, machines, cars, vehicles and tools, so it is far more of a scourge.

            I simply don’t follow any logic in your comments – what’s your case ?

          • IanCad

            David,
            I was referring specifically to the Somerset Levels – a typical flood plain with low population density.
            Certainly, densely packed urban areas cannot go back, but, as I see it, there is no reason why new homes should not be built on such lands.
            In the SE of the USA nearly all of the coastal populations live within the flood plain. Wise building codes coupled with the reasonableness of the populace render a harmony between man and nature that is beneficial to both.
            There is absolutely no reason we can’t do the same over here – where there is land available – the simple expedient of raising the floor levels of new homes and building with timber instead of masonry could provide much needed shelter in this crowded land.

          • David

            You have a bit of a point regarding the Somerset Levels, but even there much loss economic loss occurs, and human hardship, all unnecessarily too, because of the don’t dredge directive.
            I used to know those Levels well. The monks drained them with simple tools like mattocks. But we fail with all our equipment because of remote, aloof, insensitive, bossy, top-down theoretical idiots in Brussels. I hope their HQ is destroyed one day soon, because of the tyranny it represents.

          • IanCad
          • David

            Quite !
            God set the nations apart, for their own good.
            The attempt to create one superstate, a godless empire, is accursed and therefore doomed !

      • Martin

        Sarky

        Science cannot solve all the problems.

      • Inspector General

        Inspector General Bob • 8 minutes ago

        My dear fellow. Haven’t you heard. The law of Gravity is up for offers. Apparently, 86% of matter in the universe required to confirm said law has gone missing!

        It’s as if the scientists really know little…

        • sarky

          Gravity has always been a theory. That’s the beauty of science, new evidence comes along and theories change.

          • Inspector General

            If you had any sense about you, you would know how essential the theory of gravity is to everything we know. As it stands, the scientific community is continuing as before. Gravity still answers positively what is required of it. However, they, said community, would dearly like to know where the missing 86% is. You don’t know, by chance?

          • sarky

            Probably the same place half my socks have gone.

  • IanCad

    Why we make such a big deal over a little flooding is beyond me. It rains, the sun comes out and in a couple of weeks things are back to normal. Some new carpets, and, while we’re at it, let’s hit the insurance co. for some new appliances.
    I do hope we never have to fight another war.

    • Phil R

      Send all our engineers to Holland to see how flood water is managed.

      Same climate same issues but no flooding

      • IanCad

        Holland has an advantage over us. it is a flat land protected by dikes(dykes?) and thus has merely to have many and powerful pumps at the ready.
        Flash floods are a fact of life. Over the centuries they have occurred regularly in our land. In general, flood defences are adequate; occasionally a deluge will overwhelm them. On a cost/benefit basis it is not worth upgrading to provide against all contingencies.

  • Honest John

    Didn’t the promise after Noah’s flood concern the total devastation of the entire earth? I don’t think it applied to local manifestations of his wrath, e.g. the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the fall of Jerusalem.

    Amos 3.7 states in the context of divine judgement “Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.” I heard of no prophetic warning about these floods beforehand, so I conclude that this was not an expression of God’s wrath towards the UK.

    But all natural disasters surely contain sobering messages from God about considering all things temporal as a vapour, unable to deliver lasting happiness or security. And they call Christian people everywhere to show compassion to people in need.

    • dannybhoy

      “But all natural disasters surely contain sobering messages from God about considering all things temporal as a vapour, unable to deliver lasting happiness or security. And they call Christian people everywhere to show compassion to people in need.”

      Now that’s a statement I can wholeheartedly agree with.
      Psalm 144>
      “O Lord, what is man that you regard him, or the son of man that you think of him?4 Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.”

    • preacher

      The problem is that Dr Cranmer speaks of ” Some people believe that the floods are God’s judgement on a sinful & rebellious Nation “.
      But who are these people, are they possibly the prophets that you refer to ?.
      As we know through modern technology, the inclement & unseasonal weather plus the natural disasters exemplified by the increase of destructive, unusual for the time of year typhoons in the States & other phenomena World wide, including Wars etcetera, could surely point to a Global catastrophe rather than a purely local one. I hope & pray that this is not the case, but believe that God’s warnings are given for a reason & are ignored at our peril.
      Scripture teaches that things will deteriorate as the time of Christ’s return approaches, & He Will certainly return to Some generation !.
      I am no John the Baptist nor a purveyor of doom & I certainly don’t interpret every global disaster as a sign of the end is nigh ! But maybe, John’s message IS relevant today – especially to the Church that bears our saviour’s name.
      Blessings brother. P.

      • sarky

        The sky’s falling in, the sky’s falling in!!

        • preacher

          No my friend, don’t panic – unless of course the sky IS falling in over your way, or you’ve changed your name to Chicken little. It’s probably just the mother of all hangovers !.

          • sarky

            Not today 😉

  • michaelkx

    Before someone comments that this a judgment from GOD. my I
    remind all those that agree that we in this country have been telling god to go
    away out of our schools, hospitals, and any were people gather, you cannot
    preach the Bible because you may upset someone that “should get a life” so he
    (God) has left us to it as we have asked, and you wonder why these things
    happen ?

    • sarky

      Don’t be stupid.

      • Martin

        Sarky

        You are the stupid one, not willing to accept the consequences of your actions.

  • len

    God does not need to Judge mankind again because He has already done so. Judgement was done at the Cross of Calvary.
    Let me explain.
    There are ‘two trees’ call them family trees.
    One tree is ‘Adam’. The other is ‘Christ.’
    ‘Adam ‘has been judged and found to produce little good fruit and much bad fruit and as such is condemned and will ultimately be cut down and burned.
    ‘Christ ‘can only produce good fruit as his Life supply is pure and uncontaminated.
    The good news is that we in Adam can be transplanted into Christ and then receive the Life flowing into that tree but also partake of the history of that tree.For example when Christ went to the Cross we went there with Him we experienced death in Him and if we experienced His death we will also experience His Life.
    So until that bad tree ‘Adam’ is cut off we will experience all the bad that tree is capable of producing….

  • carl jacobs

    It is always extremely problematic to try to attach divine purpose to events that occur in life. The prophet may do so but only because the prophet is the conduit of revelation. To observe an event and declare “God’s intent in this event was …” is to arrogate to oneself the mantle of prophet. What man should be fool enough to dare such presumption?

    We have this model in our heads that the Universe normally runs on autopilot. Then every once in a while God intervenes in some supernatural or dramatic way to make a point. But that isn’t what is going on. God works through everything that happens – especially through all the ordinary events of ordinary life. All things work together for good. God doesn’t need miracles and dramatic events to work His will. But how these events work together is infinitely more complex than our primitive arrogant and self-serving assertions of “Flood equals judgment!”

    When an airplane crashes, you don’t say “This is the judgment of God!” You ask the question “Why did the plane crash?” You investigate, find the cause, and fix it so that next time people won’t die from the same cause. Leave the work of God to God. He is more than capable of watching to make sure His word is fulfilled. Understand that the crash of the plane is part of “All things” just as surely as the investigation that follows. It’s really not any different from teaching your children not to play in the street. Act prudentially and leave sovereignty to God.

  • IanCad

    “God does not need to Judge mankind again because He has already done so. Judgement was done at the Cross of Calvary.”

    Sounds an awful lot like predestination to me. Most certainly it has the flavour of “Once Saved Always Saved” about it.
    That Christ made His sacrifice for us at Calvary cannot be denied; but in so doing He nowhere took from us our choice to come to Him or not.

    • Martin

      Ian

      Predestination is part of the CoE’s doctrine. But I don’t think Cranmer’s comment is either accurate or indicative of predestination. And Jesus does say that no one will snatch away those He has saved. Seeing we are all dead in our sins before we are saved, I’d question whether we have any choice available.

      • David

        Strictly speaking you’re right Martin. Predestination is part of the C of E’s 39 Articles, but few, even myself, who generally support the Articles, are entirely convinced by it, so I tend to say, “well maybe the Lord God has predestined some of us, but surely a repentant sinner can always be received and forgiven by God”. I’ll admit that I am unsure and will co-exist with both “camps”. It’s a tricky one. So I am genuinely happy to spread the Word and wait until God’s judgement makes everything clear. I don’t feel, as a Lay preacher that I should pretend to have all the answers – there’s room for an honest “don’t know”. In fact I am not always impressed with the person who claims to know everything – even the meanings of all the parts of Revelations, for example.

        • carl jacobs

          but surely a repentant sinner can always be received and forgiven by God”

          Repentence is itself a gift of God.

          • David

            Quite Carl !
            So would He deny it to the genuinely repentant sinner ? I hope not – but He’s the boss, not me, so I say what I hope is true, and defer to Him.

          • carl jacobs

            A man cannot repent unless God grants him the ability to repent. We are born spiritually dead. The Spirit breathes life into this corpse. Because we are made alive by the Spirit (i.e. because we are regenerated) we therefore exhibit the characteristics of spiritual life (repentance and faith.) Just as a living man breathes so also a living spiritual man repents. Repentance and faith follow naturally and inevitably from regeneration. Regeneration is solely and wholly a work of God.

          • David

            Yes God must be involved in the process of us being led by The Spirit to repentance. But that still leaves open whether it is pre-ordained, that only those identified aeons ago will be led thus.

          • carl jacobs

            That’s exactly what the Scripture declares.

          • chiefofsinners

            While also declaring that God is long suffering, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

          • sarky

            What if your not one of them Carl?

          • sarky

            So if by some quirk of fate I repent my sins, it could all be a waste of time?

            You christians really are a strange lot, you bang on about evangelising, when all you are doing is selling false promises.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            You won’t.

          • carl jacobs

            sarky

            When I talk to other Christians, I can assume some things are understood. If you want to insert yourself into such a conversation, that’s fine. Just don’t criticize me for not holding your hand through the details. Go and learn them before you offer commentary.

            Christianity has been around along time, and it will still be here long after you are dead. You aren’t offering either new or particularly original criticisms. If you understood what you were talking about, you wouldn’t be offering these criticisms at all. You would already have some understanding of terms like predestination and election. You would already know how they relate to evangelism. And so you would already understand why this statement …

            So if by some quirk of fate I repent my sins, it could all be a waste of time?

            …is incoherent by any measure of Christian doctrine.

          • sarky

            Carl, I always come at these comments from a non christian perspective. Can you not symperthise with the fact that to non christians christianity seems like an unintelligible club full of contradictions and nonsense.

          • carl jacobs

            No, I can’t sympathize. Not if you are going to comment on it. There is a difference between thinking something is nonsense and understanding it. I think Mormonism is stuff and nonsense. But I took the time to understand it. If you think that anything I have said on this thread is internally inconsistent, then you are simply demonstrating that you don’t understand the concepts involved. And on this basis you accused me of selling false promises.

            Just one example. You began with a statement about a “quirk of fate.” Fate is a pagan concept. It has no part in any discussion of Christian doctrine. So right from the beginning you false foot yourself. You set up your argument based on paganism in order to provide a basis for an act of repentance. So do you know what repentance means? It’s not just saying “I’m sorry.” If you believe fate could induce you to repent, then you haven’t got a clue.

            So, yes, I could understand how someone wouldn’t know the language. I could understand how they could get confused. But if you are going to attack it, then you should at least be able to demonstrate a basic grasp of the basic concepts involved. That means you should be able to explain the internal consistency from inside the worldview. You don’t have to accept it. But you do have to understand it.

          • sarky

            How can you understand something that makes absolutely no sense at all?
            which is my point. Non christians reading this will come to the same conclusion as myself, they will go away thinking christianity makes no sense.
            But hey, I don’t really care, the more that dismiss this nonsense the better.

          • carl jacobs

            How can you understand something that makes absolutely no sense at all?

            Think about what you are saying. It is immediately and unconditionally refuted by the fact that I understand it. What you are actually saying is “It makes no sense in terms of sarky’s presuppositions.” That doesn’t prevent you from understanding it in terms of carl’s presuppositions. But that takes work, and it is much easier to not do that work. That’s your choice. Just understand that you will make yourself look ignorant when you present arguments that have not even a remote connection to the subject you are addressing. An apologist must understand the position he is attacking if he is going to attack it effectively.

          • DanJ0

            One of the issues there is that Christianity has sects, and people from each often talk with their own certainty. I find I have to tailor my criticism to individuals here, and make general comments looser than I’d like to cover multiple bases. It’s curious that a god which maintains the very particles of the universe moment by moment, and which maintains an internal relationship with each Christian, seems unable to steer people towards a common understanding … but hey.

          • Ok, you’re right about the need for a critic to familiarize himself with the philosophies of the subjects of his critique, but at the same time, Sarky makes a valid point. Predestination turns the world, God and our relationship with the world and God into a play where each part has been scripted and all the parties have become automatons. At least from perspective, this is a heresy, a serious error, as Scripture does not even hint of such a reality. In fact, God clearly calls His people to repent and to obey the Teachings/the Law in ordered to be blessed with success as a people or a nation. Sarky and others have noticed this theological incoherence and disturbs them on a number of levels.

        • Martin

          David

          If you can’t accept the 39 Articles in their entirety you should go somewhere where the foundational documents are in accordance with your beliefs.

          • David

            That’s just plain silly, and bad advice.
            No denomination’s interpretation of Scripture will ever accord exactly with the understanding of a serious student of The Word. Even Luther (the theologian I tend to agree the most with) couldn’t agree everything with that other pillar of the protestant reformation, Calvin.
            Do you have your own private denomination for just your good self, Martin ? Either that or you’ve simply adopted someone else’s litany of faith, lock, stock and barrel – not that’s wrong.

            If a Trinitarian Christian accepts the revealed teachings and pronouncements of the early Great Church Councils and Creeds, as do both the Latin Church (and derivatives) and The Orthodox Church then, as C.S.Lewis says you’re part of the brotherhood , sisterhood, of the Universal Church.

          • Martin

            David

            No, that is the moral position. If you don’t agree with the denominations theology you should leave. I specifically did not joint the church I attend because it is paedobaptist and I am not.

          • David

            Purist. It’s your choice of course, but a totally impractical and excessively narrow one, which improves neither your faith nor the world, no not one jot.
            Strikes me as a borderline pharisaical position – just saying.

          • Martin

            David

            It is always practical, but rarely pleasant to be honest. The CoE would not find itself in the state it is now in if those who teach in it were honest with their convictions.

          • David

            Pleasantness is not a high priority with me, but honesty is.

            The C of E is in a poor state, but not for lack of honesty regarding their convictions. The appalling state of much of the C of E is because many of the leaders are just plain heretics, openly so, and even more verging on the heterodox.

            I am part of a small, but slowly growing minority of the traditional, orthodox and conservative protestants. We stand our ground and grow. We will survive and eventually, when Liberalism is but dust, as yet another failed attempt to breach “the gates” of orthodoxy, then we will flourish again. Indeed “we” flourish mightily in Africa (See GAFCON) and elsewhere. There are also in the C of E, conservative, orthodox Anglo- Catholics, but not as many as us. The two orthodox groups show mutual respect regarding our differences, and often co-operate.

            God bless you Martin. You are a touch self-righteous I find, but faithful, which excuses much I believe. The Universal Church benefits from your strong witness.

          • Martin

            David

            Don’t you think that if the CoE required an honesty of it’s clergy there would be fewer heretics?

          • David

            That’s a logical line of reasoning, but wrong. Why ? Because you assume, reasonably, that those who would do the inquiring, those in authority, Arch-deacons and Bishops, are themselves orthodox. But they are not, and haven’t been for a long while now. The orthodox, full time vicars, with their full too bursting churches, like the ones I work for free, voluntarily, in support of, are at the bottom of the ecclesiastical pile. This is because, faithful servants that they are, they prioritise preaching and ministering to their flock, than seeking promotions. It is the House of Bishops that is full of liberal, wishy-washy, luke warm ones, although they are found elsewhere.
            Maybe Martin, a very long time ago, when the rot first set in, and before it spread outwards and upwards, if honest, rigorous probing of orthodoxy, coupled with a ruthless culling of the heterodox, had occurred, then your point may have saved the day. But that would have to have been done – guessing now- perhaps 80/90 years ago ?
            Much was lost, in terms of doctrinal orthodoxy, when the Church foolishly handed over its seminaries, colleges, to secular Universities, and they lost control of the syllabus. Then false teaching gained an upper hand. But, as I understand it, The Catholic Church retained control of its colleges, but the revisionist ideas, including tolerance of homosexuality (and worse) still crept in, as fashionable, but wrong, ideas jump across walls don’t they, if the “Spirit of the Age temporarily perverts and, then even, displaces traditionally held truth. I blame the loss of nerve and zeal amongst the Church leaders as the root cause. But that’s another topic.
            But hey, let’s cheer up. I’ve just read a few Psalms, which reminds me that ultimately God wins. Moreover in the Global South the orthodox faith grows rapidly. I am a member of GAFCON which is in contest now, as we speak, with the liberal C of E Churches of the west. They all meet in Canterbury soon. The Australian orthodox Anglicans centred on Sydney are where I look for Bishop level advice, plus a few remaining good ones in England, like Michael Nazir-Ali and the retired now, but immensely productive theologian Bishop Tom Wright – I have a full set of his commentaries which I use for writing sermons.
            So we stand firm, even as the arrows fall around us – we shelter under His mighty wing. As my great – grandmother was fond of saying regarding any opposition – ” bugger ’em, we’ll win!”. Well said great-grandma ! Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition I say.

          • Martin

            David

            I think you underestimate how long ago the problem occurred, but you are right, very few Christians have ever made it to bishop and that’s where the problem lies.

            The answer then is for all the Evangelicals, in the original meaning of that term, to leave the CoE and join those of us outside conformity.

          • David

            You may be right Martin, it may be further back.
            But why is your big exit strategy “right”. Are we not the living, throbbing, growing heart of the otherwise deadwood denomination ? Why should we be forced out of the C of E. We link well with the millions, zillions in fact, in the Global South who think and believe and pray just like us. In fact we channel loads of dosh, much needed resources to them, and maybe that’s our role ? Godly local churches here pay for Africans to be trained in the few remaining English theologically sound colleges, and then send them back to become local leaders in their own dioceses. We support evangelicals in Europe, Hungary and all over – many of us are well heeled, I have no shame in saying that I am, through applying our God given talents well, and the churches have funds to spare, which increasingly we send not to Diocese HQs – to Bishops, but directly to other theologically orthodox churches, here and abroad. Some have moved out, still as Anglicans but independent ones, and that’s fine. But most are determined to defend the true reformed heritage of Cranmer’s Church. In or out we work happily with Free evangelicals.

          • Martin

            David

            Could you not fund sound colleges equally well outside the CoE? Indeed, outside the CoE you wouldn’t have to support the deadwood and hierarchy and so would have more money to support them. Let the dead bury their deadwood. The CoE was a compromise from the start and a compromise with the unscriptural never works.

          • David

            Conservative evangelicals still have access to sound colleges, and that will continue.
            The overseas national Churches are, outside North America, overwhelmingly orthodox.
            The funding to the deadwood hierarchy is reducing.
            Originally it was, as you know, a compromise between A-C and Protestants. Many of the A -Cs preached good, orthodox sermons, and still do. It is the rapid growth of the formerly much smaller liberal wing, to dominate the top levels, that has caused the problems, unbalancing the previous workable tension between A-Cs, Evangelicals and a few Liberals.
            But there is hope. The liberal congregations are dwindling as they die. Many of the younger ordinands are traditional – the kick-back is under way. The conservative churches, especially conservative evangelicals are growing, especially in the big cities. Even in North America it is the conservatives, renamed as “Anglicans”, who have split from the apostate, shrinking Episcopalians, who are thriving. The future could well be a smaller but more Biblical C of E.
            There is everything to play for and pray for !

          • Martin

            David

            I admire your optimism.

        • dannybhoy

          I see it as meaning that God predestined all who respond to God’s call will become a part of the Body of Christ and will have forgiveness, and will experience the process of santification, and will experience the same kinds of things our Lord experienced.
          Apart from the verses Martin often quotes, I do not see in Scriptures a God who forces men to worship Him or be saved.

          • Martin

            Danny

            It means that God chose, before He started His creative work, those who He would save and will save them for all eternity.

          • David

            OK. Even Luther and Calvin disagreed over this. Calvin became convinced of the truth of predestination, whilst Luther favoured that + the possibility for any of the lost to turn, repent, and be forgiven and received into the Body. I am simply not prepared to be dogmatically on one side or the other, but tend to favour the Lutheran side. I don’t see why a Christian should always have to be totally, dogmatically convinced of one good argument as trumping all the others. I’m happy to wait and trust in God’s wisdom.

      • IanCad

        Martin,
        I have to agree with David’s comment below. Although not a member of the C of E, I know many who are and, without risking friendship through too robust debate, it seems to me time has moved on and the Calvinistic influence has waned.

        • Martin

          Ian

          Then those who are part of the CoE who do not hold to the 39 Articles in their entirety should leave, if they are honest.

          • IanCad

            Martin,
            Are you suggesting that all light has been revealed and that we are complete in all knowledge.
            If you were around at the Reformation would you have stacked the faggots to burn Cranmer?

          • Martin

            Ian

            Do we not have the Bible, what else is there to be revealed?

          • IanCad

            The Bible is sufficient for us; and in it is all truth.
            Trouble is we have difficulty finding it.

      • dannybhoy

        “Predestination is part of the CoE’s doctrine.”
        Not your version of predestination Martin!

        • Martin

          Danny

          39 Articles
          XVII. Of Predestination and Election.
          Predestination to Life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby (before the foundations of the world were laid) he hath constantly decreed by his counsel secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honour. Wherefore, they which be endued with so excellent a benefit of God, be called according to God’s purpose by his Spirit working in due season: they through Grace obey the calling: they be justified freely: they be made sons of God by adoption: they be made like the image of his only-begotten Son Jesus Christ: they walk religiously in good works, and at length, by God’s mercy, they attain to everlasting felicity.

          As the godly consideration of Predestination, and our Election in Christ, is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons, and such as feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh, and their earthly members, and drawing up their mind to high and heavenly things, as well because it doth greatly establish and confirm their faith of eternal Salvation to be enjoyed through Christ as because it doth fervently kindle their love towards God: So, for curious and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have continually before their eyes the sentence of God’s Predestination, is a most dangerous downfall, whereby the Devil doth thrust them either into desperation, or into wretchlessness of most unclean living, no less perilous than desperation.

          Furthermore, we must receive God’s promises in such wise, as they be generally set forth to us in Holy Scripture: and, in our doings, that Will of God is to be followed, which we have expressly declared unto us in the Word of God.

          1689 London Baptist Confession

          Chapter 10: Of Effectual Calling

          1._____ Those whom God hath predestinated unto life, he is pleased in his appointed, and accepted time, effectually to call, by his Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God; taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them a heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and by his almighty power determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace.
          ( Romans 8:30; Romans 11:7; Ephesians 1:10, 11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13, 14; Ephesians 2:1-6; Acts 26:18; Ephesians 1:17, 18; Ezekiel 36:26; Deuteronomy 30:6; Ezekiel 36:27; Ephesians 1:19;Psalm 110:3; Song of Solomon 1:4 )

          2._____ This effectual call is of God’s free and special grace alone, not from anything at all foreseen in man, nor from any power or agency in the creature, being wholly passive therein, being dead in sins and trespasses, until being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit; he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it, and that by no less power than that which raised up Christ from the dead.
          ( 2 Timothy 1:9; Ephesians 2:8; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:5; John 5:25; Ephesians 1:19, 20 )

          3._____ Elect infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit; who worketh when, and where, and how he pleases; so also are all elect persons, who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.
          ( John 3:3, 5, 6; John 3:8 )

          4._____ Others not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may have some common operations of the Spirit, yet not being effectually drawn by the Father, they neither will nor can truly come to Christ, and therefore cannot be saved: much less can men that receive not the Christian religion be saved; be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature and the law of that religion they do profess.
          ( Matthew 22:14; Matthew 13:20, 21; Hebrews 6:4, 5; John 6:44, 45, 65; 1 John 2:24, 25; Acts 4:12; John 4:22; John 17:3 )

          Differences in wording but not in meaning.

          • Dreadnaught

            So how do you think God is getting along with Yaweh and Allah these days?

          • Martin

            Dreadnaught

            Allah doesn’t exist, it is the made up god of Muhammed. Yahweh is God.

          • dannybhoy

            You can build doctrines on verses, or you build them on overviews.

            I don’t believe the Bible records of God’s interactions with peoples or individuals teaches predestination.

            There is no book in the Bible, Old or New Testament that promotes your position as dogma and illustrates that dogma by showing God as some arbitary chooser of inately wicked sinners to be saved, and condemning the rest to eternal damnation.

            That is why you upset people like Dreadnaught and even Sarky. Your position is unreasonable and without love, compassion or apparent understanding of where people are at in their personal lives.

            The Bible consistently shows God to be Holy Righteous and Compassionate; always ready to forgive men who turn from their sin and seek to walk in His ways.

            Ezekiel 18:31(ESVUK)

            31 Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel?

            In spite of the doctrine of irresistible grace,
            http://www.theopedia.com/irresistible-grace
            it is obvious that the New Testament writers believed that men could turn away and lose their salvation..

            Hebrews 6
            4 For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. 7 For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. 8 But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.”

            also consider 2 Peter 2>

            20 “For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the worldthrough the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”

            The response I usually get from those who follow Calvin’s teachings is that “obviously they were never chosen to be saved in the first place…”
            Double whammy then!
            Not only have they turned away to follow their lusts etc., with all the tortuous guilt and anguish that brings, but Calvinists will tell them,
            “Cheer up! Just because you didn’t win in God’s Salvation Lottery, at least you now know where you’re predestined to spend Eternity…”
            What utter bosh.

          • You are right. At least Jewish scripture makes no mention of predestination, Unconditional Election or Total Depravity (aka Absolute Inability). On the contrary,

            …“but if ye return unto Me, and keep My commandments and do them, though your outcasts were in the uttermost part of the heavens, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen, to cause My name to dwell there.” (Nehmiah 1:9)

            And,

            …”Return to Me,’ declares the Lord Almighty,”and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.” (Zachariah 1:3)

            There is a small problem, though, Danny. Unconditional Election is not just a Calvinist doctrine, but part Protestant theology as well, which puts you in an awkward spot…unless you’re becoming Jewish.

          • dannybhoy

            “but part Protestant theology as well, which puts you in an awkward spot…unless you’re becoming Jewish.”

            Ho Ho Ho!
            I read the Scriptures, and I don’t accept predestination as meaning the overriding of freewill by a wonderful and holy God who gave us an intellect and self determination.

            I would consider becoming Jewish an honour, but
            a) I’m not sure where I’d fit into the various sects and groups I met in Israel.

            b) I am not into traditions founded on superstitions, or like the Kabbalah.Or the Mishnah. Only pure Scripture.

            c) I would have questions about the loss of the Temple and sacrifices and offerings. The reinstatement of the office of the High Priest. Why was it all taken away without divine revelation

            d) The horrors of the Holocaust and why God allowed it.

            And so on..

            However I have a personal affection and admiration of the Jewish race, I believe they are still the People of the Covenant, and that God has His hand upon those who love Him, cares for those who seek Him, and even those who have lost their faith in Him..

          • Well, Kabbalah is not a requirement; many ignore it or take only parts they deem are valuable. The Talmud is a must, but only halakhic rulings are binding; the mishnah records opinions about medicine, cosmology, demonology and a whole host of contemporaneous beliefs which reflect the times of the authors, but are not required beliefs. The issue of the Temple, sacrifices, redemption and such are still widely discussed. Maimonides didn’t think a rebuild Temple would necessarily require sacrifices, others thought it would have to be rebuild exactly as it was and all rituals would be reinstituted. Some today want it rebuild and restored as a project, others say it will drop of the Heavens in Messianic times; these are all legitimate differences. The bottom line for me is that a reinstitution of the Temple, however we decide what it’s appearance and purpose will be, is impossible today because it requires levels of Jewish cultural, national and theological unity we haven’t approached yet. I think it was Elie Wiesel, a non-theologian, who provides for me the best clarification on the Holocaust; it is not a failure of God or the Jewish people…a failure of humankind.

          • dannybhoy

            I read Elie Wiesel’s book, and whilst I agree it was a failure of mankind, it still raised theological questions terms of the Covenant.

          • Yes it did, but it answered some too; see my recent comment to Dreadnaught.

          • Martin

            Danny

            If they had been saved Christ would never have allowed them to have fallen away. That they did fall away was a good thing, because they were not saved.

          • dannybhoy

            The response I usually get from those who follow Calvin’s teachings is that “obviously they were never chosen to be saved in the first place…”

            You just said what I said you’d say, Martin!
            Yet the New Testament authors don’t say that, do they?
            People can lose their way and their faith, and they can return to fellowship with their Father in Heaven.
            God loves me just as much as He loves you Martin, regardless of our theological differences.

          • Martin

            Danny

            I said it because it is what the Bible says. And what of John’s comment:

            They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. (I John 2:19 [ESV]

            God didn’t love the Pharaoh of the Exodus, nor did He love Herod. God places His love upon those He chooses to love and saves them.

  • Dreadnaught

    I have just caught a tv advert for a cancer charity of a
    mother singing ‘row you boat’ to a smiling infant boy splashing in a plastic bathtub. The camera slowly revealed that the baby was hooked up to a blood drip with a breathing tube up his little nose and still laughing.
    How in the name of humanity, can there be any god worth worshiping
    who, as the claimed creator of all things including the sending of wet weather, have decreed this punishing life sentence on an innocent child?

    I read what Martin, Len, carl and others get all steamed up about and I can’t for the life of me relate to any of it. The vision of that child brought me literally to tears: to believe that others see this as the will of the Christian God simply enrages me to the point of screaming at the nonsense of their convictions.

    Yes I am atheist and a secularist and for good reason.

    • Martin

      Dreadnaught

      This is the result of YOUR sin.

      • sarky

        You really are an unthinking, uncompassionate moron.

        • Bob

          Don’t be too quick to judge. There’s a whole range of disorders on the autism spectrum that can account for the behaviour of heartless and doctrinaire zealots like Martin. Tragedy isn’t the preserve of physical ailments, you know.

          • Martin

            Bob

            Seems you don’t understand how wicked you are either.

          • Bob

            Anyone who criticizes you is wicked, eh?

            Oh dear, must we add delusions of divinity to your broad spectrum personality disorder?

          • Martin

            Bob

            Not at all, we are all wicked. Some of us admit it, most don’t.

          • DanJ0

            I’m lovely!

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            As I said, most don’t.

          • DanJ0

            But I am! At least we both agree that you’re wicked, which is a start anyway. What you need to do next is admit that you’re ‘dead in your sins’ too.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            I’m alive in Christ, my sins are forgiven.

        • Martin

          Sarky

          You have no idea how wicked you are.

          • sarky

            Ahh thanks martin. I take it you mean wicked as in awesome?

          • Martin

            Sarky

            No, I mean wicked as in evil.

          • sarky

            Wa ha ha ha ha

        • Sam

          Dude

          Bizarrely , compared to other Christians “out there,” Martin is a “moderate”. I remember when a Christian said to Hannah she was possessed by a demon and that was why she’s a lesbian. Then there was the time another Christian confirmed our parents were in hell for not believing in Jesus and follow-up was a you tube video of what hell is like . Recently someone said to my wife she should turn to Jesus and be cured of her disability.

          • sarky

            I just hate extremists of any kind. Why can’t people just live and let live.

          • Sam

            Dude

            “Why can’t people just live and let live.”

            Exactly . I often ask myself the same question. I only wish extremists -which is sadly ill defined , but I appreciate I’m put in that category – could also say the same (including extremist atheists who want to ban bits of my faith). Sadly that moderate centre and practical compromise is quickly disappearing. We’re left with polar extremes.

          • sarky

            We’re still here 🙂 our voices are just getting drowned out a bit at the moment.

      • Dreadnaught

        As do not subscribe to your religious tenets I don’t see how you can expect me to agree with that statement. But as usual you exhibit to have less in common with reason as you have in empathy or compassion for the physical suffering of humanity.

        • Martin

          Dreadnaught

          The physical suffering of humanity is down to humanity’s sin. We reap what we sow. And the subsequent suffering of the sinner after death is vastly more than in life.

          If you cannot see the need to remind people of that in order, one hopes, to point them to the only solution then you are the one without empathy or compassion.

          • Dreadnaught

            Guilt by association is hardly valid in this, the only life we are guaranteed to experience; beyond this the afterlife is all smoke and mirrors. You carry on lad, you’ve at least convinced yourself if not me and I can live with that.

          • Martin

            Dreadnaught

            No guilt by association involved, just guilt because of sin. You cling to the pretence that there is no God and no afterlife, for else you need to change your ways.

    • dannybhoy

      Funny ain’t it?
      I have never ever seriously entertained the idea that God is responsible for suffering and pain. I believe that God loves us all and He proved it by coming to earth as a man and living amongst us, then yielding up His life so that we may be reconciled to God the Father..
      I’ve had knocks like an unhappy family background, a divorce, eczema at three weeks, asthma at 16. Now COPD.
      Yet I have spent years working with the physically and mentally handicapped and abused children.

      • sarky

        How??? How can you not entertain the idea that god is not responsible for suffering and pain, when you believe that nothing happens without his say so?

        • dannybhoy

          There is moral evil Sarky, and there is the death and destruction that comes from living in a world of changes and fluctuations.
          People suffer usually at the hands of other people, or genetic abnormalities or accidents, or crop failures.
          I believe no innocent ultimately loses out, because God will deal justly and compassionately with them in eternity.
          This world is a bootcamp leading into eternity; and life is a serious business that we either walk through alone, or holding onto God’s hand..
          If it wasn’t a serious business, God would not have come down to earth to rescue us.

          • sarky

            You know that’s rubbish. Your god condems millions of innocents to hell.

          • IanCad

            Must jump in here before bed – Mama’s yelling already.
            I’m making an assumption re. your understanding of Hell.
            It is not a place of never ending perpetual punishment as so many Christians proclaim. It is only translated as the grave or pit.
            It was the Greeks who up an ran with the vile invention. Christian leaders recognized the fiction as a ready source of cash.
            Let me finish up by noting that the C of E does no longer believe the vile doctrine that has so slandered the character of God.

          • sarky

            No hell – no need of repentance.

          • IanCad

            Now she’s banging on the door!!
            Of course we need repentance; it is the way to life.
            Sarky, you should be the last person to believe the poisonous doctrine.

          • sarky

            I don’t. Just playing devils advocate.

          • Hm. Do you hide in the bathroom to get some undisturbed commenting time? Works only for a short time…after an hour they start worying.

          • IanCad

            After an hour!!??
            Ten minutes more like.

          • dannybhoy

            I wouldn’t be a Christian if I believed that Sarky.
            I’d have to be an atheist and take comfort in the thought that I am only a collection of atoms in motion, that consciousness is an illusion and life is totally meaningless and we cease to exist when it’s over..

          • sarky

            You are partly right, except the meaningless part.

          • dannybhoy

            It is ultimately meaningless Sarky if you subscribe to the atheistic evolutionary position.
            If we live in a chance universe and everything is ultimately without meaning, then all that you are and feel is without meaning too.
            Read the Marquis de Sade’s philosophy of life.

          • sarky

            You have to believe that, otherwise your worldview becomes less attractive.
            By the way, my life is anything but meaningless.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Of course your life is meaningless, you’re nothing more than an evolved ape, a blob of goo that has somehow developed opposable thumbs.

          • sarky

            You forgot the massive brain.

          • chiefofsinners

            Some brains are more massive than others…

          • sarky

            Especially the ‘evolved’ ones.

          • chiefofsinners

            Amazing, really, that one species should have ‘evolved’ so much further than any of the others.

          • Martin

            CoS

            Actually brain size is immaterial, it would appear that folds are more important.

          • sarky

            Yours must be very smooth.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Then judging by your lack of success, yours must be smoother.

          • sarky

            Lack of success?

          • Martin

            Sarky

            A brain produced by random events is hardly a thing to boast of, however large.

          • sarky

            So you admit its from random events?

          • Martin

            Sarky

            That’s your claim, I don’t subscribe to it.

          • dannybhoy

            Why not old chap? Please explain.

          • Martin

            Danny

            Because there is no evidence for the claim.

          • dannybhoy

            Sorry Martin I just re read the thread. You’re right!

          • dannybhoy

            I could say the same about your world view could I not.
            The difference is that my faith in God tells me that life has meaning, no matter how tough it sometimes is.
            Your faith tells you that there is no meaning to any of it, and if you follow it through to its logical conclusion you have no meaning either.

          • sarky

            You’re right. In the grand scheme of things I have no meaning. But what I do have is meaning to my friends and family and to the people I come into contact with and that will do me just fine.

          • dannybhoy

            Yes, in that sense you are like many people in our society who feel no need of God or His salvation.
            Many people who have their own personal morality which they use to judge others who fail to live up to it, and which you as the owner use to excuse your own failings to live up to.
            That’s how it works isn’t it?
            Then in a convivial group and armed with a drink,we may talk lightheartedly about God or Jesus or Heaven or Hell, and maybe poke fun at the whole idea.
            Then when we meet ‘a man of the cloth’ or someone we know to be devout, we adopt our pious persona…
            That’s how we are Sarky. But as I have mentioned to you before, it is the grace of God which allows us all to grow up together as corn in a field awaiting the harvest – or more bluntly, death.
            Then according to you that’s the end of it. ‘You’ cease to exist. But the Bible tells us that God made us in His image, with imagination and free will. A spirit inhabiting a body of flesh. That He considers each one of us so valuable that He was willing to step into time and space as a man and live a perfect life amongst us.
            And how did we treat Him Sarky?

          • sarky

            Ive considered them and thats why I take the position I do.

          • dannybhoy

            I thought you must have done so Sarky. I have friends and acquaintances who don’t believe, but that’s okay. As long as I have shared with them why I believe it is important to consider Jesus as the Son of God; and that choosing to have faith in and following Him is the most important decision they can make in this life, I have obeyed the Gospel. My priority must always be to become more like Jesus and be filled with His love and care for others.
            What puzzles me is why then you continue here. Of course you can do what you like; but if you don’t believe why linger?
            Before I became a Christian I could think of nothing worse than being in the company of ‘Holy Joes’….

          • sarky

            I enjoy the debate.

          • dannybhoy

            “Marquis de Sade, a French aristocrat, philosopher and writer of explicit sexual works, was born in Paris in 1740. His writings depict violence, criminality and blasphemy against the Catholic Church. During the French Revolution he was an elected delegate to the National Convention. The last 13 years of his life were spent in an insane asylum. He died in 1814.”

            http://www.biography.com/people/marquis-de-sade-9469078

            Didja look it up yet Sarky? His philosophy and actions were perfectly justified because like you he believed there was no God, and therefore what ever is, is right. So man was able to treat women (including his own wife and daughter) as he wished because ‘what is’ had made man stronger than the woman.

          • I’m at loggerheads with many of my coreligionists on the issue of atheists, so don’t take my position as representative, although I base it on Scripture and historical Jewish positions. We may infer many things, but the bottom line is that the Torah prohibits turning to false gods, not unbelief in gods or even God. The most basic and rational philosophical position by default is atheism; what you see is what you get. The Torah doesn’t rail against this belief; what it does is to provides the non-Jew with a minimalistic, but very powerful ethical code which he is expected to know and follow and the Jew with direct revelation and a mountain of obligations.

            Strictly speaking, atheism is a non-option for a Jew, because you can’t follow the Laws, especially those unique to Jews alone, without an understanding that they come from God and pertain to a mission assigned by God. In reverting to the atheist or agnostic position, a Jew positively rebels against God, but what this means is that Sarky is a lot more likely to operate on a closer level to God, if he lives a moral life as described in the Noahide Laws than a Jew with faith, but lax in observances and poor in morals. The emphasis on faith in Judaism, I think, is relatively recent; we see it emerge only when Jews lived as minorities among Muslims and Christians, a situation which would lead to attempts to click with the dominant culture then…just like many Jews nowadays believe that modern secular values and appearances will lead to greater acceptance and tolerance today, and are willing to change even fundamentals of their religion for this.

          • dannybhoy

            Excellent observations there Avi, and very close to my own understanding.

            For example,
            “because you can’t follow the Laws, especially those unique to Jews alone, without an understanding that they come from God and pertain to a mission assigned by God. In reverting to the atheist or agnostic position, a Jew positively rebels against God…”

            This fits in with what Paul talks about re predestination.
            God calls a people to be His and enter into that Covenant relationship with all that implies.
            All those born as Jews have the privilege of entering in, but not all choose to do so.
            There is always a remnant of Godly people faithful to Adonai Elocheinu and in that sense they are predestined to worship Him and serve Him for ever.
            Then go back further, before the Law, and look at the patriarchs, the men who walked with God.
            Avraham, Isaac and Yaakov.
            They were justified before God not by the Law, but by faith.
            However I think the religious position of encouraging the ‘backslidden’ or unbelieving Jew to repent and return is the right one; and very similar to what we Christians see as our responsibility in sharing our faith in Christ Jesus.

            Regarding the Noahic Covenant though, I think Sarky would say (and I would agree with him), that it is perfectly possible to be a moral compassionate individual without reference to a God.
            So being ‘good’ is not enough in God’s eyes. Being in a right relationship with God whether Jew or Gentile, involves recognising that even if our outward self conforms to religious orthodoxy and practice, our heart may be very far away from Him,
            As you know the Scriptures are full of examples of our hypocrisy.
            So it is a hunble and contrite heart that God desires. Maybe because God knows that all the time we are in these fleshly bodies we will always struggle with passions and lusts.
            Perhaps too that is why God loved King David.

    • sarky

      Totally agree, that advert is like a punch in the guts and I also agree that such things are also why I am an atheist.

    • Bob

      Epidermolysis bullosa.

      That’s the best advertisement for atheism I’ve ever seen.

      “For God so loved the world he sentenced that tiny child to scream in agony every time his mother touched him…”

      • William Lewis

        Love is an answer. There is more love shown by the mother of this child than most:

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3047271/Even-m-sleeping-m-pain-Boy-14-skin-fragile-butterfly-wings-speaks-battling-condition-fulfill-dream-sports-reporter.html

        Pain and suffering are not a reason to be atheist, though they may be a reason to shake a fist at God. Many, however, find themselves turning to God at a time of their own suffering or that of their loved ones.

        BTW atheism has no answer for any of this. None, Nada, zilch. It just says “Tough luck son. You live with it, till you die. You are hopeless. End of”

        • Bob

          Pain and suffering reveal a cruel god who shows little or no mercy.

          If that’s who your god is, you’re worshipping something pretty dark. A god who can sentence a child to something like epidermolysis bullosa is not beneficent. And if god is not beneficent, but rather a cruel and arbitrary tyrant, then the universe is a much, much darker place than if there’s no god at all.

          If something happens to you because of blind chance, you can cope with it by being philosophical and realizing that you haven’t been singled out for punishment but are just a victim of randomness. But if there’s a god and he’s specifically singled you out for pain, suffering and punishment, not for any fault of your own, but rather because you’re just a slave to be used and abused as he sees fit, how do you cope with that? By groveling on your knees and begging for forgiveness? Is that what a newborn baby suffering from epidermolysis bullosa should do? Beg for forgiveness for all the terrible sins it HASN’T committed?

          • William Lewis

            I don’t know why individual, apparently unwarranted suffering happens other than the fact that evil clearly exists. So the question comes down to; why does God allow evil to exist? I suspect it’s something to do with allowing the freedom to choose but, ultimately, the God I worship will right all of the wrongs that we do or have been done to us. There is no chance of justice in your godless universe, nor in the god you describe and despise. Most of the evil done in this world is chosen by humans.

          • Bob

            Freedom to choose? What freedom to choose does a newborn baby afflicted with epidermolysis bullosa have? Can he choose not to have the condition? Can he atone for sins he’s never committed and thus be healed?

            There’s no chance of justice in your god-infested universe. How can there be when a cruel tyrant can inflict untold suffering on anyone he likes for no reason at all except that he’s sovereign and can do what he wants?

    • IanCad

      I have to sympathize Dreadnaught. What an indictment against we Christians who have conveyed to you the notion that such tragedies are of God.
      Such is not the God we worship. In love He sent His Son to die for us. In love He gave us freedom of choice. In love He must weep for us.
      In love He – in the Person of Christ will one day return.
      The mystery of God does not bear rational analysis; it is of faith – His and ours.
      His in the knowledge that there are in this wicked world a people worth redeeming; Ours in the Blessed Hope that as He is true to us so we will be to Him.

      • sarky

        Sorry, but you are trying to justify the unjustifiable.

        • IanCad

          Sarky – and to Bob above,
          It is in the nature of many Atheists to blame God while denying His existence.
          Satan is somehow ignored in the frenzy of spitting vitriol on our Creator.

          • Bob

            I don’t blame your god for anything because I don’t believe he exists to blame. Unpleasant diseases are merely the result of random chance. However if you do believe in god and believe him to be good, you’re still faced with the dilemma of justifying his cruel behaviour towards children born with painful and debilitating diseases or conditions.

            If he knit them together in their mother’s womb, he made them that way. So he ordained they would suffer. This is your merciful, all-loving God, is it?

            If we’re talking about Satan, do you realize exactly who you’re worshipping?

          • IanCad

            God does not ordain suffering. We live in a world of wickedness that is beyond understanding.

          • Bob

            Your Bible tells you that your god knits babies together in their mother’s womb. If that baby is then born with a debilitating and painful disease, who, if not God, has ordained it? Does the Devil lurk in the vaginal canal casting a spell on the child as it’s born? How then are genetic conditions and other diseases detected in utero?

            Your holy book paints a deeply cruel picture of this god you claim is so loving and merciful. And you blithely refuse to acknowledge it, because to do so would force you to face what you worship square on and see it for what it really is.

          • sarky

            Errm didn’t he create satan?

          • IanCad

            Yes; and with the power of choice.

          • dannybhoy

            No.
            He created Lucifer, a very high ranking ‘other order’ spiritual being.

          • carl jacobs

            Lucifer is a title and not a name. It is an Anglicized form of a Latin word and has the same root as the English word “lucid.”

          • dannybhoy

            12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

            In the grand scheme of things how much does it matter, Carl?

            A name, traditional in Christianity, for the leader of the devils, an angel who was cast from heaven into hell because he rebelled against God.Lucifer is usually identified with Satan. The name Lucifer, which means “bearer of light” or “morning star,” refers to his former splendor as the greatest of the angels.

            dictionary.reference.com/browse/lucifer

          • carl jacobs

            It matters because the text matters. We depend upon an accurate rendition of the autographs. If it wasn’t for a specific translation choice by a translator of the King James Bible, the name “Lucifer” would be unknown. That’s why the modern translations don’t include a reference to Lucifer.

            From the ESV: “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low!”

            There are people out there in the world who attack the ESV (and other translations based on Alexandrian manuscripts) as Satanic corruptions. They point to that verse as one of their principle pieces of evidence. What is their case? “The ESV calls Satan the ‘Day Star’ and Christ is the Day Star. They have made Christ into Satan.”

            No, I am not making that up.

          • dannybhoy

            No I’m sure you’re not making it up Carl, but my post was not about whether Lucifer was a name or a title or anything else.
            It was about the fact that God created that being with a free will and gave him special responsibilities..
            He did not create him evil.

            “Means “bringing light”, derived from Latin lux “light” and ferre “to bring”. In Latin this name originally referred to the morning star, Venus, but later became associated with the chief angel who rebelled against God’s rule in heaven (see Isaiah 14:12). Even later it became associated with Satan himself.”

            http://www.behindthename.com/name/lucifer

          • carl jacobs

            Most people assume Satan is in view from the presence of the name in the KJV. Establish from the text that Isaiah 14:12 is about Satan. The text says it is about the King of Babylon. I’m not saying it isn’t about Satan. But I don’t see a good argument in the text to sustain that assertion.

          • dannybhoy

            Ah, now that’s somewhat different and I find myself agreeing with you.

            I do wonder whether when the Prophets were in ‘full flow’ they would sometimes be referring to another realm or dimension. What is said is said in the context of the King of Babylon, yet there seems to be a sub text or ‘overlay’ referring to a heavenly being.

            Same thing in Ezekiel 28 talking about the King of Tyre…>

            “12 Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.

            13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.

            14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.

            15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.”

          • Hi Danny,

            We’re all well, thank you…in response to your post yesterday. Family is doing great, lounging around, while I drive at my max allowable to relieve colleagues who’d like to spend at least some time with their families on Christmas. And we had our first snow storm here yesterday. Hoping you’re enjoying Christmas! Right, well, right to the point then. I notice thing got lively here yesterday, so let me join in the fray.

            Isaiah explicitly calls Nebukhadnezar the “day star,” most likely using an expression common for his time which roughly translates as a “flash in the pan.” In the overall context, he reminds that Babylon, for all of its greatness, is a temporary power, while Israel, for all of its apparent weakness, will endure.

            The idea that angels, or “messengers,” can act independently and even rebel against God is foreign to the Torah. In every instance they are treated as tools of God, to assist or hinder (hence “the Hinderer”); the modern equivalent would be an android with sufficient amount of artificial intelligence to do the job, but no independence or self awareness. This is why there are no “good” or “bad” angels and why one is not allowed to pray to them or, by extension, to hate them.

          • dannybhoy

            Greetings Avi.
            See this is where Jewish theological input on our Christian blog enriches and adds to our understanding of the Scriptures.
            So you are saying that angels are not beings with souls and self determination, but rather ‘programmed messengers’?
            So there was no angelic rebellion in Heaven and neither the Archangels Michael and Gevriel in Daniel have free will, only a programme to follow.

          • I strive to follow a classical, rationalistic approach, so always take everything I say with a grain of salt, as I’m not representative of either liberal Judaism or mystically-based Orthodoxy. But on the nature of angels, most Jewish sources stick to the Scriptures and reject free will among the “messengers” (although Genesis does hint that they do understand good and evil) and by extension the possibility of a rebellion against God or a role bigger than that of God’s automatons.

          • Sam

            Dude

            “I’m not representative”…

            Neither am I.

            I’d say hand on heart, that’s what I appreciate and applaud about Judaism*, in that we have various views and philosophic /Hashkafa perspectives and are taught to vigorously and fiercely debate Torah and the meaning of life “stuff”, whist “ understanding in sincere disputes, opposite views can be valid : “Eilu v’eilu divray elohim chaim hen ” (these and these are the words of the living God).

            *specifically what’s called orthodox as Sephardim didn’t seem to notice the northern European enlightenment

          • Ah, but the Sephardim had the Rambam, his son and a slew of rationalist philosopher-scientists and back then their rationalism was far more “modern” than the fundamentally superstitious European Age of Enlightenment. Sadly, much of the Sephardi world appears to have fallen under the “spell” of mystical haredeism of the Hassidic movements.

          • Sam

            Dude

            I was referring to the reform movement in respect of the enlightenment… But as for Israeli Sephardim I agree, we’ve been utterly cowed and bullied by the Ashkenazi black hatters on so many issues and I see this all the time online : accept our Lithuanian or Hasidic view or you’re not a Torah Jew. . It gets on my wick . It’s a red flag to a bull.. Sephardim always had mysticism alongside rationalism and we just took it in our stride, without going to extremes: sadly now many Sephardic Rabbis dress like they’re polish nobles, without our heritage or tradition and adoring the Haredi fruitcake Judaism as I call it . (Sorry but I’m extremely proud of my Sephardi tradition, leniency and yes, culture/food). Rant over.

          • Her, rant and vent, Dude; you’ve good reason too. And many Ashkenasi rabbis in the rationalist and religious Zionist sector would agree with you…some going even as far as preferring the Talmud Yerushalmi and Rambam’s commentaries.

          • dannybhoy

            See,

            Between you, you’ve just illustrated the problem.

            If I converted, what would I be converting to??

            It’s bad enough in our Christian circles..

            Would I be converting for the right reasons or because I rather fancy myself in a long coat and shtreimel….?

            http://crownheights.info/assets/media/featured/20120629-hasidic%20jews.jpg

          • Sam

            You’re free to mock my religion, but don’t expect me to engage with you if you do.

          • dannybhoy

            Sam,
            I’m mocking your religion?
            How’d ya work that one out?
            I’m baffled.

          • Sam

            Okay , wrong choice of words. That post was just irritating as those questions have been asked before and it was in the middle of a serious discussion.

          • dannybhoy

            Perhaps ‘serious’ because it more directly/deeply affects you and perhaps Avi.
            But it is possible to be oversensitive Sam, and anticipate a perceived slight where none is intended.
            Context is all, and in this case you have to look at my previous comments where I state my appreciation of Avi’s Jewish perspective on this blog. Then as you should remember my historical involvement in Israel as a Christian volunteer.
            That alone should have told you I wasn’t and would never mock another person’s faith, let alone those people I like.

          • Sam

            Dude

            Okay , I was over-the-top sensitive there.

          • dannybhoy

            Yes you were, but to acknowledge it is progress. That’s how friendships are built my friend.

          • dannybhoy

            “Thank you Danny, thou flatterer, thou.”

            Avi, credit where credit is due old chap. It’s because I appreciate your humour, openness and willingness to share your knowledge of things Jewish.
            Oh, not forgetting your dress sense….
            ;0)

      • Bob

        Who knit that child together in his mother’s womb?

      • Dreadnaught

        Ian its not Christians in general that have conveyed that impression its those who have convinced themselves that they alone can speak for the whole.
        That Christianity has lost relevance for me does not cause me to resent Christians or their faith, but to question why it makes people like Martin into such insensitive, clueless bores.

        • dannybhoy

          Martin was out of order.

          • Martin

            Danny

            Show me how.

          • dannybhoy

            You just don’t talk to people like that Martin. Where is the love of God in what you said to Dreadnaught?
            Do you really know the person? Do you think Jesus would talk like that? He reserved His anger for the religious self righteous.

          • Martin

            Danny

            Is not Dreadnaught among the religious self-righteous of this age? They pompously display their ‘righteousness’, declaring how they would do things if they were God. Jesus would have been angry with them.

          • Dreadnaught

            What is more self-righteous than professing to be able read the mind of God.
            You need professional help old lad.

          • Martin

            Dreadnaught

            I don’t read the mind of God, I read the Bible.

          • Dreadnaught

            But how do you know for sure that Jesus would have been angry unless you are capable of mind reading? You should try broadening your literary scope while you still can.

          • Martin

            Dreadnaught

            As I said, I read the Bible.

          • sarky

            You interpret the bible.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            In that you interpret whenever you read or listen to a speaker.

          • sarky

            Exactly.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Thus you really have no grounds to criticise.

          • dannybhoy

            If he doesn’t think in terms of righteousness or unrighteous, how can he be self righteous?
            We both believe he like us is a sinner, but if he doesn’t believe in God but is obviously willing to engage in discussion then we start where he is, surely?
            We love and share, we try to explain the reasonableness of our faith and that we believe all men will have to give an account of themselves before a holy God.
            But we ourselves don’t condemn Martin, we share what the Bible teaches in fear and trembling, aware of our own weaknesses and failures..

          • Martin

            Danny

            He may not think in terms of righteous and unrighteous but that is what he means by “punishing life sentence on an innocent child”. He is placing his righteousness over against what he perceives as the unrighteousness of God. He has become god, judging all and finding the Creator guilty.

          • dannybhoy

            No Martin, he is simply stating his opinion from within his current philosophy. We all do that; even us Christians do, whether on theology or moral issues.
            Surely you agree with me that God loves him as much as He loves you and me.
            Our job is to witness through our words and our lives to the truth of the Gospel and its transformative power through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
            Surely the Lord has changed you Martin. and filled your heart with joy and worship and peace?
            So we pray for those who don’t know our Lord yet and we seek to keep the lines of communication open between us.

          • Martin

            Danny

            His ‘current philosophy’ is to regard himself as righteous and God as unrighteous.

            As I’ve already said, God doesn’t love everyone, else God would save everyone. Yes, we pray for those who are unsaved and tell them of their state and the offer of salvation. But we don’t know who will be saved.

          • Dreadnaught

            Martin is permanently ‘out of order’ and probably always has been. He’s no ambassador for religion to be taken seriously that is certain.

          • sarky

            Again….

        • IanCad

          Well, we’ve all got a long way to go. Martin thinks one way – I another – and it’s all on show.

    • chiefofsinners

      These things move us all to tears. Some of us cry to God, others just cry.
      God has seen His own son die in agony in order to secure everlasting joy, for this child and for us all.

      • sarky

        Yes, but god saw his son die knowing full well he’d be back in three days. The mother of that child doesnt have such luxury.

        • dannybhoy

          Nuts!
          God become man and was tempted in all points like as we humans.
          Our Lord could have succumbed to temptation, else there was no point to His incarnation. He was born as innocent as the first Adam, but like the first Adam He could have given into fear or the promise of power.
          Remember Satan told Him that he could give Him all the kingdoms of the world because they were his (Satan’s) to give..
          We make light of the fact that Jesus chose obedience to His Father in Heaven rather than obey the natural desires and ambitions of a man…

          • Ivan M

            Yes and as the Lord’s Prayer suggests, God’s will is sometimes not done on Earth, for some reason beyond us.

        • chiefofsinners

          Very true. But the bible’s teaching is that Christ suffered far more in His hours on the cross than any individual will ever suffer.
          I don’t deny that the mother’s position is heart rending and beyond my understanding, but the Christian faith gives greater comfort than any other philosophy of life can.

    • Anton

      Why do you think it is the will of God? It is the CHOICE of God – not to intervene – but what you deescribe is the will of Satan, assuredly.

      One day God will get so fed up with the mess that fallen man and Satan have made of his creation, of this earth and life upon it including human – that he will bring this “present evil age” to a close. Those who do not love him should be grateful for his patience in not doing so while they yet have time to take his view of things.

    • carl jacobs

      read what Martin, Len, carl and others get all steamed up about…

      To what are you referring?

      • Dreadnaught

        Biblical interpretations.

        • carl jacobs

          What biblical interpretations did I get all steamed up about? I don’t perceive that to be the case, so I want to know what you saw that I didn’t.

    • Ivan M

      Do you also tear up at the news that a sixteen-year old has bone cancer, probably incurable? Death comes to us in many different ways. No one has a good answer to the problem of evil. The Christian answer is to unite our sufferings with that of Jesus Christ for the salvation of the world.

      • sarky

        No, your answer is to put your fingers in your ears and go la la la, while your god remains conspicuous by his absence.

        • Ivan M

          The Christian God has promised eternal life, He is not absent. I suppose if something disastrous happens I would curse God in the beginning, but life has to go on. All the disasters in the world cannot change the fact that we would want to see our loved ones again. Only God has the power to grant eternal life so that the trip would have been worth it. Even in your case when you come across a disastrous situation is there much that you can do, except to hope for some technical or scientific progress?

          • Bob

            Now there’s an example of the true meaning of Christian charity.

            You’re quite happy to see an innocent child condemned to suffer in agonizing pain through no fault of its own because there’s a payoff for you in it. You’ll get to see your loved ones again and live happily ever after with them. So suffer, little child, suffer.

            I’m appalled. There’s no other word for it.

          • Ivan M

            What payoff? Bob you are a poor imitation of Karamazov.

          • sarky

            Id rather trust that than an absent god.

      • Dreadnaught

        A strange retort. Yes I can get tearful at the random iniquity of suffering of people born with impairment that shortens the chances of innocents becoming valuable members of humanity.
        What moved me in this particular instance was the age of the child and the poigniancy of this time of year in the Christian calendar.

        • Ivan M

          I get where you are coming from.

    • William Lewis

      Your reason is far from good. It condemns all to pointless, hopeless suffering.

      • Dreadnaught

        I didn’t realise I had such power.

        • William Lewis

          Your “reasoning” then.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    Cranmer says categorically that the floods are nothing to do with divine punishment because God has promised never to flood the Earth again. The flood of Noah’s time was a cataclysmic event resulting in untold destruction. The floods in Northern England have caused much misery but with respect to those in trouble, Cumbria isn’t the Earth. So, I think it is risky to categorically say our nation is not suffering the consequences of turning it’s back on God

    There are two ways in which we can think of punishment. One way is when a parent uses some kind of sanction or deprivation to make a child do something. There is also the “punishment” that comes when say a teenager ignores his parents request not to go drink-driving and suffers disastrous consequences. One is meant to directly influence behaviour, the other is suffering the consequences of rebellion by allowing ourselves to fall into the hands of misfortune or evil.

    People punish each other all the time, usually for selfish reasons. God punishes mankind for mankinds benefit The response to the victims of the flooding should be to give whatever practucal help they need. None of us who are dry and safe can ascribe our good fortune to being better people than those who lost their homes. We should consider ourselves fortunate.

  • The floods are not of course a judgement upon individuals, but they are most definitely a warning to the nation to humble itself before the God who alone controls the elements. They are a call to the people to cry out to the One who once calmed the raging storm over the Sea of Galilee. We cannot consistently attend harvest thanksgiving services, which clearly imply God’s control of nature, but then deny that adverse extremes of nature and climate are not also His direct doing.

    As we pray earnestly for those whose homes and businesses have been so badly damaged by the rising waters, we must at the same time pray that the Lord would be merciful to a nation which has turned its back upon the true gospel and the moral law of God. The Bible plainly teaches that all things happen in the providence of God, and that He is the Governor of the natural world. So these floods are an aspect of His providence.

    For example, “Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places. He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings for the rain” (Psalm 135:6-7). We do not exactly understand why the Lord has brought these floods, but brought them He most definitely has, and they are obviously not a sign of His blessing the nation.

    Therefore, they are a call to self-examination and are a warning to us to seek His face. Britain has been consistently abandoning the worship of the one true Trinitarian God for many decades. Aspects of our national life are characterised by a flagrant disregard for God’s commandments. In this context we cannot expect national blessings from God’s hand, and that means that we have no right to expect His favour towards us via the natural world.

    It is simply not good enough to blame global warming, the science of which is highly disputed. Yes, we need money spent on improved flood defences and more dredging of rivers, but primarily these floods are a call to bow ourselves before the God whose control of the creation renders all men without excuse for their unbelief and rejection of Christ’s salvation (Romans 1:20).

    • Good.

    • This is what happens when man puts vanity above security

      If men (our governments) hadn’t been so greedily mismanaging the countries money for private and public aggrandisement there would have been enough funds to attend to necessary land management each autumn and to buy technology from the Dutch who know a thing or two about living below sea level on flat land. But their vain and reckless save a penny now and rob Peter to pay Paul systems always ensures they end up having to spend twice as
      much later on. Last year it was the souls in the South of the country who suffered terrible flooding, this year the North. God is telling us we must get our house secured and look after each other. Man has become selfish.

      • Dreadnaught

        Man has become selfish

        Much better all round if man had become ‘shell-fish’

        • dannybhoy

          Ha ha!

      • IanCad

        Marie,
        The Dutch are good at pumping water that is all.
        We are dealing with flash floods – an entirely different problem.
        One, I might say, that is, in general, managed quite well.

        • If you call doing nothing and hoping for the best each year managing quite well then yes.

          • IanCad

            Marie,
            If those figures in my post to Phil (above) are somewhat accurate then doing nothing would seem to me to be the best course of inaction.

          • So you’re happy to inflict floods and misery on twenty thousand homes and businesses in areas that are known for flooding in order to save a few bob. You must be a politician shame on you. Have you ever had your home flooded?

          • IanCad

            Marie,
            Yes. It dried out.
            Again, cost/benefits must be taken into account.
            Insurance Co’s have an opportunity here. Higher premiums, greater risk.
            If floods only occur once in a generation, I cannot see why any more than basic flood prevention should be provided for by the taxpayer.

          • That’s not the right attitude to take Mr Cad.
            It seems even basic flood prevention of culvert cleaning and river dredging has not been carried out as there would be less flooding, but it is much more frequent than once in a generation these days. It’s the government’s duty to protect the people and environment rather than insurance companies who are not responsible for land management and who get rich.

          • IanCad

            Marie,
            If basic maintenance was not performed, then council heads should roll.
            Silly me!! Far easier it would be, to put a roof over the country, than to get rid of jobsworths.

          • And get out of the EU too. The mad EU Water Environment Framework Directive (England and Wales) has stopped dredging works and classified the silt and stuff dredged up as hazardous waste to be disposed of only by licensed operators incurring enormous costs.

          • IanCad

            Thanks for that Marie – I didn’t know. Hazardous Waste!!??**
            We must never underestimate the vileness of the collective.
            That is the green sustainability lobby.

        • Phil R

          If flash floods are the problem. Then we take measures to reduce or eliminate flash floods.

          Not rocket science

          • IanCad

            Phil,
            We can do nothing to reduce or eliminate flash floods; merely mitigate them.
            This country has about sixty millions of souls. I have seen no figures stating exactly how many homes have been affected.
            If it transpires that less than twenty thousand have sustained damage I would contend that we don’t need to go spending more money on flood defences.

          • Phil R

            We can eliminate flash floods. Cheaply and with min effort. Mostly all that is required is planting trees in the catchment and regulation of farming with the re establishment of smaller fields with hedges to hold back water and suitable land management

          • IanCad

            I like that Phil.
            The least expensive solutions are usually the best.

          • Phil R

            Our valley in Wales used to flood every year. Bridges washed away etc

            Around 40 years ago the sheep farms were mostly replaced by trees.

            The river has not even reached the top of the banks of our river for 30 years or more

            I hate conifer plantations but they stop floods. The last serious flood occurred when I was around 7 or 8

          • It’s part of the solution but the EU doesn’t agree. It’s their directive that stipulates we should rip up trees and build huge housing estates on hillsides, hillsides soak up water.
            Common sense farmers get ignored when they tell the Environment Agy that perforated dams are needed to divert heavy rainfall.

          • dannybhoy

            Your solution was mentioned on the radio this morning….

      • Anton

        The government is not selfish enough! It is giving billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money away to foreigners overseas instead. I approve of charity, of course, but its essence is that it is voluntary and that the donor can choose the recipient.

        • It’s only doing this to keep up with other countries,to look good and assuage guilt for waging war or to buy affections. I don’t agree with having a foreign aid budget, I think we should be free to give what we can when we can based on what’s happening at home first.

    • Dreadnaught

      As we pray earnestly

      Is there a scale of degree of praying to be selected before commencement I wonder, such as praying light-heartedly for the outcomes of the more trivial issues? Someone else here who (apparently) misleads minds to believe that the weather and the prospects for humanity is in the hands of a god.

      Not much different from the ancients really, with the added advantage of not having to remember a multitude of names for a plethora of particular natural phenomena.

      • IanCad

        Dred,

        To pick up on the theme from last night.

        We as Christians have a problem. It is strange that natural disasters are, by many, judged to be an act of God; whereas the poor boy, suffering so terribly, is on his own.
        Shocking inconsistency.

        Emily Bronte described some of us very well. I paraphrase:

        “–there never was, and possibly never will be, such a self-righteous old Pharisee, who would ransack a Bible, to rake the promises to himself and fling the curses at his neighbor –“

        • Dreadnaught

          I doubt very much that Christians are the only group that
          can from time to time seemingly being at odds with themselves. We human are all different in how we react or respond to certain situations. That just how humans tick in my opinion.
          What I have difficulty in accepting is that intelligent
          minded Christians look for quick and convenient reasons to explain causation.
          Invariably because they believe that we are made in ‘God’s image’ (whatever that may mean) we have to apportion blame to someone or something less tangible than existential experience. I find this illogical because if humanity did not continue to test and experiment with known ‘truths’ we would not have advanced
          to the degree which we have. Religion to me is an unavoidable natural phenomenon that will rise or diminish with a person’s life experience as some say ‘to give meaning to their life’.

          If you say (I know you don’t say that) my atheist life is
          meaningless, its only because you think your life is meaningful because that is important you that you can deliver the back-up evidence from your religious texts.
          Unfortunately so do billions of people who disagree because
          they also have religious texts they think trumps yours. If this is indicative of what is meant by having a meaningful life – include me out. I would rather confine my attention to
          understanding the place of humanity in the world and my part in it. I think Eric Idle encapsulated my position better than I ever could and with decidedly more humour in his Universe Song:

          Just re- member that you’re standing on a planet that’s
          evolving..
          revolving at nine-hundred miles an hour
          and orbiting at nineteen miles a second,
          so it’s reckoned,

          A sun that is the
          source of all our power.

          Now the sun and you
          and me, and all the stars that we can see
          Are moving a million miles a day

          In an outer spiral arm at forty thousand miles an hour
          of the galaxy we call the Milky Way…

          • dannybhoy

            “What I have difficulty in accepting is that intelligentminded Christians look for quick and convenient reasons to explain causation.”
            I agree with that. I just accept that we live in a cause and effect world, and floods, tornadoes, earthquakes etc. happen, and always have happened.
            I do believe that God can and does sometimes intervene, especially in response to the prayers of His people; but by and large we make adjustments.

          • Dreadnaught

            There is no shame to say ‘I just don’t know’, I do it all the time then I set about finding out why: which occasionally works.

          • dannybhoy

            I have philosophical and faith questions that I hang on metaphorical ‘hooks’. I accept they’re probably not going to be answered in this life, but that doesn’t matter.
            In a sense all men live by faith of some kind, but what captured me was the revelation that whatever I thought of myself as a good kind 22 year old man, God had me marked down as a hypocrite and He showed me why I was.
            Whatever else in life I look up at Jesus hanging on the cross with nails through His feet and wrists, and I know that I helped put Him there.

          • Dreadnaught

            We’re not that much different except that you carry artificial guilt, no doubt instilled since childhood, which is a little .. dare I say unfair on you from such an early age. But if being guilt-tripped gets you through life now, then no harm done.

          • dannybhoy

            Artificial guilt?!!
            You mean I wuz brainwashed to feel guilty?
            Nah!
            I only experienced guilt when God revealed my hypocrisy Dreadnaught.
            I was 22 remember.
            Ex merchant navy, been around a little bit. Certainly messed up by my parents unhappiness, but that didn’t make me feel gulity.
            Only unhappy.
            And lacking in confidence.

          • Dreadnaught

            Whatever floats yer boat sailor.

          • IanCad

            Dred,
            Dannybhoy has said just about what I would have said.
            I respect your position but – perhaps I’m being presumptuous – would label you more as an agnostic than a militant atheist.

          • dannybhoy

            I agree. I like Dreadnaught. He asks questions I myself have asked.

          • Dreadnaught

            Thank you Dan but no Bromance eh! :-}

            I happily confess I insisted on my daughters being baptised as I was myself, but never confirmed. I felt in as much as I had no serious convictions either way at that time, I also felt it was incumbent on me not to neither neglect or instruct their ‘spiritual’ well being in what may become of them in life or after it. That’s their choice to make.

          • sarky

            I feel the same – my kids have all done sunday school and church holiday clubs when they have wanted to. I tell them what I think ,if they ask, but also tell them I support them in whatever they choose.

          • Dreadnaught

            Its the only way Sarky, which I am dead against faith schools but not against teaching our national history critically but without shame. Similarly with religion its not for schools to instill into pupils but to encourage them to examine contrast and compare.

          • dannybhoy

            Well that’s the best way to do these things. A Good Parenting medal for you.

          • Ivan M

            Do you also allow your kids to choose whether they wish to go school? Do you make it optional for them to take their vaccines or medicines? Do you when eating out, allow them all the fries and greasy foods they want, eschewing vegetables?

            I imagine the answer to all these questions would be a clear no. But that would be because you think that is the best for your children. You do not in the same manner regard, the friendship of Jesus Christ as being of any value to your children, hence you leave it to them to decide.

          • sarky

            No, I just dont believe it, so why should I indoctrinate them?

            At least I give them the option.

          • dannybhoy

            I was at a naval boarding school when I reached the age for confirmation.
            I have to admit to being troubled about what was required, and wrote to my mother to say I didn’t want to go through with it, because I knew I would break all those vows as soon as I was old enough.
            I actually went through full immersion baptism after my conversion.
            Everyone is different, but I think God respects integrity.

          • Dreadnaught

            It should always be a choice made when mature of understanding.
            “May your God go with you” as Dave Allen always said.

          • Dreadnaught

            No Ian, I am not agnostic. I am atheist, Humanist call it what you will but in essence I don’t do Clubs or Societies or even a ‘local’. I chose my tag name because that’s how I feel about the freedom I genuinely feel in believing that the is no such thing as the afterlife. Attaching the prefix ‘militant’ is I think the preserve of the observer not the actor.

            I am first and foremost an inquisitive free thinking individual. I am interested in hearing and debating with anyone almost anything I can get a handle on in meaningful engagement. That’s why I think that this site, with its unmoderated comment section and regular topical OPs stands head and shoulders above the rest.

            I see no reason to engage in deliberate personal antagonism with anyone – its pointless and petty. Life’s too short and I’m too old.

            We are rapidly losing the real freedom of speech that could be experienced at Hyde Park Corner for instance without fear of violent retribution. We are living in a dumbded down age that caters mainly for the Twitter/Text sound-bite generation which pains me for the future direction of this nation.

          • IanCad

            On my part “Militant” was a poor choice.
            I will engage with deliberate personal antagonism against anyone who deigns to curtail, or roll back our liberties.
            Good post!

      • Dear Dreadnaught, All prayer to God must be earnest, and it is good to remind ourselves of this. As to prayers to other gods in ancient times, they always failed (please see Elijah and the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18).

        Courteously, we should not be dismissive of the power of prayer to the one true God who manifests Himself in Jesus Christ. Without it our history as a nation may easily have taken a different course.

        At the time of Dunkirk, for example, when most of the British army was stranded and trapped in France, the King called a national day of prayer. There resulted a storm over Flanders grounding the Luftwaffe and yet the Channel was like a millpond, aiding the evacuation of over 330,000 soldiers, and thus enabling the fight to be eventually taken back to Hitler. Quite literally, the prayers of the nation – and the churches were packed in May 1940 – saved our nation.

        • dannybhoy

          You don’t often hear that acknowledged nowadays…

        • Dreadnaught

          What criterion I wonder condemned those who did not make it back alive or how it was explained to the families that this time prayers did not work for them? Its like randomly loading grief upon grief for no justifiable reason.

          • I’m not saying that Dunkirk was a miracle, but biblically, miracles are rare, operate through natural laws and affect entire nations or humanity, with different results for individuals. They are intended to change the course of history, not to provide every individual with a happy ending.

          • Dreadnaught

            Avi, if ever a miracle, [if there is indeed such a thing] was justifiable and should have happened, none could have been prayed for more often or more fervently than during the Shoah. The evacuation from Dunkirk for all it was a heroic exercise was still the result of an arrogant cock-up.

          • I don’t presume to fully (or partially, even) understand the Holocaust and its role in Jewish history, but the bottom line is that world Jewry, which was targeted for destruction, a plan which was largely met with either acceptance, indifference or inability to oppose by most of the West, survived and rebuild a Jewish state in a hostile hot-zone after two millenia of statelessness and life as a minority with almost no practical, worldly skills. Other survivors and descendants continued living in Exile, but many parts of the world, as in Canada, achieved levels of success and respect not seen for millenia. Was this an answer to the prayers, a miracle? I don’t know, but I’m inclined to think that it is more likely so, given the Scriptural examples of previous miracles and a promise that God would ultimate protect Israel (the people). Yes, everything can be explained as a result of natural causes, but that is the traditional characterization of a miracle in Judaism; a naturally caused event or series of events which alter the path of history.

          • Dreadnaught

            I suppose that miracles appear more easily identifiable the further back in time one stands; a bit like the dots in newspaper pictures viewed under a lens and even then when the picture is clear, they still require written contextual explanation. Not really my subject by any stretch, being a non-believer but I think the concept of miracles is much over-rated. 😉

          • dannybhoy

            I agree with Avi that miracles occur to change things in human history, and as a Christian I think that’s because God’s primary focus is on eternity -or perhaps rather the absence of time, that He intends us to share with Him

          • Dreadnaught

            The miracle of Dunkirk left 100,000 dead wounded or taken prisoner. A thunderbolt striking Hitler dead in 1933 – now that would make me believe in a miracle of divine intervention.

          • dannybhoy

            Christians are called to be salt and light in their generation in their society. Not necessarily to dominate, but to obey and support their democratically elected leaders..
            Of course there were horrible cock ups. Our leaders were not prepared for war, there were many appeasers who would have sued for peace.
            What we do know from experience is that the regimes of those leaders who turn away from God do not survive for long.
            If God interfered every time someone intended some serious mischief or harm, we would no longer be free.

          • Dreadnaught

            But you see ‘the other side’ also claimed ‘Mit Got Uns’ even on their belt buckles and other Nazi regalia. This is the nonsense that allows the same religion to be followed by both sides. Never more apparent in the Sunni Shia schism or the spat between Rome and Christian Eastern Orthodoxy. Dan, life’s too short to even try to fathom such nonsense.

          • dannybhoy

            “But you see ‘the other side’ also claimed ‘Mit Got Uns’ even on their belt buckles and other Nazi regalia”
            How odd that you should mention that!
            It was one of the things my father mentioned from his ww2 experience of convoy escorting when the destroyer he was on forced a Uboat to the surface, and they rescued some of the crew.
            They had that on their belts, and my father pointed out that most were conscripts like many of our own. Just doing what the (Nazi) State required of them.
            My father then went on to say had he been a German serviceman assigned to a concentration camp and given the order to gas innocent Jews, he would have faced a real dilemma.
            Because although he knew they were innocents and didn’t deserve to die, he would also know that should he refuse he might well face a firing squad for refusing to obey a direct order…
            I was in my teens when this discussion took place, and years later God brought it to my mind in showing me my own hypocrisy, leading to my conversion.
            Incidentally, the curate who led me to the Lord had led my father to the Lord a few years a few years earlier…

          • Dreadnaught

            Spoooky! Anyway I’m off to me scratcher. Good night Dan.

          • Dreadnaught

            Oh just before I go; the camp ‘officials’ were largely drawn from the SS. Conscripts on the othr hand, were usually drafted to the canon fodder brigades – I’d like to think your Old Man would not have volunteered for the SS or Camp guards but honourably served his Country and not the Nasties.

          • Anton

            No it wouldn’t. He hadn’t had anybody killed by 1933.

          • Anton

            My best guess is that if the Holocaust had not happened then the Jews would have been assimilated in the same way that other peoples who have lost self-rule have vanished from history even as their genes continue. From the Enlightenment onward the Jews were welcome to become citizens of most European countries. Such assimilation is inconsistent with the promises to Abraham and others, however. Why God chose the Holocaust as the means to keep the Jews distinct is a question that we should all ponder, Jew and gentile alike.

          • On the contrary. The Final Solution hit the least assimilated, the insular and mostly impoverished Orthodox, the hardest. In most cases they were oblvious to modernity and world events and refused to believe that that they were facing a serious, manic plan backed by determination and a well-oiled, efficient technological and administrative infrastructure which would locate them in the remotest regions and sysyematically execute them with murder squads or transport them on a network of rails to eliminate them in specially designed and mechanized factories. And even once things became clear, the non-assimilated Jews were unable to defend themselves, to bribe their way out, to make themselves useful even as brute skaves or to even communicate in the kanfuage od their oppressors. To the list of miracles I should have added the remarkable recovery of authentic traditional Judaism, which in the West, especially the US, was becoming extinct. But such was the effect of the Holocaust on the Westernized and culturally assimilated and secular Jewry, that a huge portion which is yet to be even estimated, recoiled in terror and “disappeared” through assimilation in the surrounding population, never to re-emerge.

            It is tempting to seek value and a higher meaning in an event which is fundamwntally inexplicable in its insanity and horror, but there you have it; it happenned and nothing good came out of it; Judaism was nearly elimitated. It lost uncounted numbers of scholars and leaders and Jewry lost hundreds of established town-sized communities, its millenia-old place in Europe and generations of potential talent. I personally can’t presume to place this horrid disaster in God’s hands.

          • IanCad

            Not the disaster Avi – but the survival.

          • Anton

            Regarding who in heaven is responsible, it is worth distinguishing between chosen action and chosen inaction. As with the floods, so with the Holocaust: Satan at work making life horrible for people, while God chooses not to prevent him. Yet God is good. We may disagree about the divine reasoning involved, but it is not illegitimate to speculate provided our speculation remains consistent with God’s character.

            Surely assimilation was creeping into even remote shtetls compared to a century earlier? German university departments of physics (my own subject) were packed with talented Jews before 1933. Look at Weizmann’s own background.

        • David

          Well said. The Dunkirk example is very powerful.

        • Ivan M

          It is credibly claimed that Hitler stopped short of an all out assault on the BEF at Dunkirk for
          a) the German leadership thought they were walking into a trap, after their own “miraculous” victory over the storied French Army.
          b) he had the idea that sparing the British would induce them to sign a separate peace.

          • That may well be Ivan, but Hitler’s strategic errors were all part of the answers to the prayers of a humbled people. Furthermore, a storm over Flanders grounded the Luftwaffe within two days of the national day of prayer on May 26, which greatly helped the rush to the beaches, whilst at the same time the Channel was very calm, which much facilitated the evacuation process, which included many lighter vessels. This was all the Lord’s doing, and we as a nation, I courteously submit, should not forget such deliverances and the power of prayer.

          • Bob

            Where’s your proof that meteorological conditions are influenced by god?

          • Dear Bob, From the testimony of Him who rose from the dead and from empirical observation in the light of Biblical teaching.

          • Bob

            In other words from myths and legends and the primitive notion that invisible powers will protect you if you beseech them hard enough.

            When I look around me I’m amazed not by how far we’ve evolved as a species, but rather by the evolutionary gap between the most evolved and the least.

          • Ivan M

            What rubbish are you talking about now? In the theory of evolution’s own terms moss and lichens are among the least evolved yet they are among the most successful. If on the other you were boasting about yourself belonging to some higher evolutionary order, you are mistaken since you are still a member of the human species, by virtue of being able to reproduce with a member of the opposite sex of the same species.

          • Bob

            Evolution can be a cultural as well as a biological process. Human culture evolves, but not all humans evolve with it.

          • But the life and ministry of Jesus Christ are not myth and legend, but are historically testified.

          • Bob

            The life and ministry of Jesus Christ are attested to by not one single contemporary account. The biblical accounts were written down at least one generation after the events they describe are supposed to have happened. All other historical references to Jesus date from well after that.

            There isn’t a single contemporary reference to Christ in the Roman annals of the period, no mention of him on the coinage (unsurprisingly, of course), no inscriptions dated to within his lifetime or anywhere near it. Historically speaking there is NO evidence that he ever lived.

            If you believe the Gospel accounts, there may have been a historical figure who called himself Jesus, but none of the supposed events of his life are attested to by independent witness and therefore cannot be considered as “historical”.

          • But Jesus Christ saved me from my sins, and I can testify to His doing that in real recent history.

          • Bob

            So your personal witness is absolutely reliable, is it? There’s no possibility you could be lying, or making it up, or genuinely mistaken, or just plain deluded?

            You are the absolute standard of truth and honesty and we must believe you, no matter how incredible your story may be, because YOU are telling it?

            I’m not sure whether you’re unfeasibly naive, or a cynical narcissist, or something in between. I discount the possibility that what you say is true because invisible, intangible saviours and invisible, intangible paradises can’t be verified, neither by the person claiming they exist, nor by anyone else. So all we have to go on is your word, and you’re claiming something for which you can show no evidence, so how reliable can you be?

          • Dear Bob, I am not making it up, but following what the Bible says, God’s own word, a book which until recent decades formed the basis of our lawmaking and civilisation, and a book which millions testify to as changing their lives, for it presents Jesus Christ, the Saviour from sin, to them.

            History supports my contention that Christ is the only answer for this nation’s
            deep malaise. Early 18th century England was anarchic, with corruption in high places, whilst the lower classes were addicted to gin. It was the Evangelical Awakening (i.e. Methodism) which changed the situation and saved the country from a violent French style revolution. This is attested to by secular historians such as Elie Halevy (please refer Halevy’s thesis).

          • Bob

            The Bible is a book written by Man. You can believe it was inspired by God if you like, but there’s no evidence of this. Indeed the contradictory nature of the moral precepts it promotes makes it highly unlikely that a divine authority could be behind it.

            For example, forgive all sins against you, but stone your daughter to death if she disobeys you or is raped in town. If she’s raped in the country, make her marry her rapist. If anyone threatens to sexually assault a male guest, give them your daughters to be gang raped instead. So saith the Lord.

          • Ivan M

            Pastor Simpson, I hesitate to gainsay the will of God. But the Germans had a run of incredible luck in their defeat of France, some of which could have been tripped up in answer to the prayers of the French.

          • Each country must work out its own circumstances in the light of God’s providence. What we do know from history is that Britain had a head of state who called two national days of prayer in 1940, to which large numbers of people responded. Interestingly, the day of prayer at the time of the Battle of Britain, along with ongoing prayers of many people each and every day, were stated by Air Chief Marshall Sir Hugh Dowding as the reason why we survived the Battle. He should know; he was in charge of Fighter Command.

    • Bob

      So Britain gets floods and a billion migrants for its sins, which include the heinous crimes of not going to church often enough and allowing people who love each other to get married, while Belgium gets brilliant sunshine and balmy Spring-like temperatures as payment for its sins, which include all of the above plus the legalized killing of burdensome small children and the elderly.

      Boy, God really has it in for Britain, doesn’t he? I wonder what we did to annoy him so badly. Was it the rumour about Barbara Windsor getting a damehood that did it?

      • Dear Bob,You wrote “I wonder what we did”. Can we start with the destruction of 8 million heart-beating human beings in the womb since 1967. That is not the mark of a liberal progressive society but one in profound rebellion against the one true Trinitarian God, who has brought such immense blessings to this land in times past.

        • Bob

          Just as many abortions are carried out in Belgium per head of population as happen in Britain. And they euthanize young children too. So how come the Belgians aren’t underwater at the moment?

          Could it be because they’re Roman Catholics and therefore, as devotees of God’s one true Church, are protected from the terrible punishments meted out to heretic Protestants?

          See, all this flooding has nothing to do with abortions. The true culprit is the Virgin Mary weeping in rage and frustration over the lack of veneration accorded to her in British churches.

          • Anton

            First, Britain was a more godly country than Belgium in recent centuries and it is worse to turn from God than to neglect him. Second, judgement appears to be coming to both in the form of militant Islam in a generation’s time. If your reference above was to gay marriage, that would not survive.

          • Bob

            Britain was more godly than Belgium? How do work that out? What’s your scale of measurement? Do you have a holy-o-meter you can feed the histories of both countries into that comes up with a comparative score? Or are the Belgians just evil because they’re not English?

            And it’s nice to know your crystal ball is working. But I thought divining and fortune telling were forbidden for Christians. Careful, your imaginary god might get quite cross with you…

          • Anton

            When you become a Christian I’ll answer those questions. Although you probably wouldn’t need to ask them then.

          • Dreadnaught

            Steady now ‘ Bob’ your security blanket is showing.

          • Ivan M

            Well you are right about the absurd theology that informs some of the Christian apologetics. For instance, it cannot be doubted that Middle-Eastern Christians in the main, do not permit abortion or pre-marital sex. Has this helped them avoid slaughter at the hands of the various bands of brigands loosed by crusading Americans? The answer clearly is no. God, through his various legatees, the Pope and other clerics had warned against the American stupidities. Nonetheless, the Middle-Eastern Christians along with other Muslims and minorities such as the Yazdis, who wanted no part of it, ended up paying the butchers’ bill.

      • Phil R

        “Allowing people who love each other to get married”

        How far down the hill do you want to go with this?

        Poly? Incest? Etc

        • Bob

          What hill is this then? The imaginary one that only exists in your head on which you occupy the high ground and consider yourself superior to everyone else?

          There is no hill. Just stupid people who think they’re better than their neighbours and demand to be worshipped as the acme of all that is perfect.

          They’re called Christians. And Muslims. And a whole lot of other names too.

          • Phil R

            Straight answer

            Poly, Incest (and all other situations where love is determining factor) should be (also) accommodated within marriage?

            A simple yes or no will do.

          • sarky

            Didnt seem to stop noah and his very closely related family.

          • Phil R

            Noah was closer to Adam (less generations) and so his offspring were almost genetically perfect. That is why the prohibition came many generations later.

            BTW. The steadily weakening of the Genome should not occur if Evolution is true.

          • sarky

            Genetically prefect incest – that’s ok then.

          • Phil R

            There was no other option and yes if God has not prohibited (Which he had not at that time) it then it was OK.

            BTW we are not talking about brothers and sisters because there were no others. Father daughter or mother son was not acceptable to God.

          • sarky

            Sick!

          • Phil R

            Three points

            1. There were no other humans left alive at that time.

            2. Genetic issues facing later generations were not a problem.

            3. All sex was heterosexual and within a lifelong marriage commitment.

            Perhaps I should add. Are our current designer babies for gays (That are all about money and by law ensure that the mother has no recognition or rights at all) less sick?

          • sarky

            The fact that you have to get extreme to justify it, says it all really.

            still sick!

          • Phil R

            Pot calling the kettle black.

            anyway don’t worry. Since “love” is to be the only criteria in our brave new world. Everything will be legal soon.

            You will need to “get over it”.

          • Bob

            You really think you control the terms of the debate, don’t you? Habits of power die hard, I suppose, even when that power has well and truly disappeared.

            Marriage is culturally determined, so it’s up to the culture as to how it’s defined. Our culture has just defined what it believes marriage to be. Will it redefine marriage in the future? I don’t know. I don’t possess a crystal ball.

          • Phil R

            No straight answer then

            Not that I am surprised.

            Incest at least still has a yuk factor.

            As to determining the road back to virtue? There seems to be two routes. It will occur through consent the Christian way or by force the non Christian way. Either history has shown us that liberal/ Marxism experiments do not last and are “culturally redefined”.

            Virtue after all, makes money.

    • Phil R

      Peter

      God does not bless us materially for our obedience.

      We don’t get a contract of a good life materially, simply because we do the right thing.

      God knows what is best for our flourishing and gives us the Bible.

      The Bible does not say we get a good life with no problems simply by believing. In fact he promised that we would suffer.

      Our reward is salvation. We should not expect any other rewards on this earth

      • Dear Phil, I am not talking about judgement on individuals, or about a false prosperity in this life gospel, but about God’s government of the nations and His control of the weather. Of course all Christians are called to take up their cross in this life, and are never promised a bed of roses.

        National well-being, however, is a completely different issue. Scripture most definitely teaches that nations will be judged in time and that God deals with them according to whether they honour Him. A plain example is Proverbs 14:34, “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people”. In Haggai 1:9 we are told how Judah suffered rampant inflation, because it neglected the worship of God. Deuteronomy 28 and Leviticus 26 also teach that national disobedience leads to the withdrawal of God’s blessing, as do many other passages.

        Nor are these passages rescinded in New Testament times, for they do not concern the Old Testament civil and ceremonial laws, but Gods’ moral government of His world for all time.

        Yours in courteous discussion.

        • Phil R

          Peter

          With your second post i think we broadly agree.

          However I believe that the Bible actually contains the blueprint for successful economic and social flourishing. With that in mind God does not need to intervene. If we move away from God nations fall apart by themselves without the need for any floods!

          We don’t need to look far before we see it happening before our eyes

          Phil

  • Petition

    Make planting trees a priority to reduce flooding by improving soil and drainage.

    https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/117136

    • dannybhoy

      Signed, but I guess they’ll have to rip down quite a few “little boxes made of ticky tacky” to make room for those saplings.,.. :0)

    • IanCad

      Marie,
      I’m a little reluctant to sign. I smell too much of the “Green” about it.
      Who’s going to pay? Will the trees be mixed, or mono plantations? If the Gov. pays for this will the public have logging rights?
      I can see it now – The Tree Quango – never in the field of human history have so few trees been planted by so many, and at such cost.

      • I signed because it’s a chance to get government debating it in the hope of achieving a plan, and yes you have a point about the Greens having a field day on this. We don’t need a Quango we need action. Who will be planting the necessary trees? It will be forgotten about until the next flood otherwise. We discussed all these issues last year.

        • IanCad

          Marie,
          Never give true believers any opportunity to gain more control.
          If Natalie Bennett or Ed Davey get a whiff of this, they’ll run with it.
          Chainsaws Rule!!

          • Pubcrawler

            Sometimes it is advantageous to bed down with the enemy — albeit with a drawn sword between.

          • IanCad

            Not in this case. A passionate tree-hugger is beyond all reason.

          • Phil R

            I quite like walking in our forests. They are quiet no wind and no sheep poo!

          • IanCad

            But it’s always nice to come upon a clearing.
            Didn’t Ronald Reagan say that if you’ve seen one tree, you’ve seen them all?

      • Phil R

        Now the conifers are big they are an asset to our valley

        the trick is to thin and not allow clearcutting. Clearcutting just brings the floods back again and looks terrible

        • IanCad

          There are arguments for and against clearcutting.
          To see a square mile or thereabouts of devastation is horrible, and it remains that way for years. Forty acre cuts with rapid replanting seems, to me, a good compromise.

          • Phil R

            Germany has special machines that go into the forest trim and remove dead diseased or not wanted trees.

            They are very small and often work at night and in the winter when the ground is frozen hard to avoid wheel ruts

            Never seen clear cuts

    • Inspector General

      There’s a thing Marie. Trees to soak up the wet!

      One has a friend who bought a property in Cheltenham which he soon realised suffered from excessive damp, especially in the kitchen. A keen historian of the area then, with local maps aplenty, he found his home had been built in early Victorian times over a now long vanished stream. A bit more detective work, and he established the stream dried up when a railway cutting was built and severed the course. Only it didn’t entirely dry up. The course was still acting as a conduit for soil rain water in the short distance from the cutting to his home, just not enough to produce a surface flow.

      Anyway, he was advised to plant a double line of leylandi at the bottom of his garden, and sure enough after a while the house dampness came to an end. The leylandi are now monstrous things having grown to quite an astonishing height because they had all the water they could ever use, and his place is easily identifiable from air photographs of the area. He told the Inspector the absorption rate these things are capable of. Dozens of gallons a day, and all discharged into the atmosphere…

      • I’m not suggesting that the areas that flood be covered in Leylandi Inspector, God forbid there’ll be no water left for us!. But the crazy notion of building on flood planes as Lord Two Jags wanted and then compounding the problem by following the EU directive to get rid of trees on hillsides and refrain from dredging to save money and the lesser spotted newts means the rivers return to their natural state and flood where they always used to.

        • IanCad

          Doug. Fir, Western Red Cedar, a mix of Birch and Aspen. A few spruce and a couple of sequoias.
          A nice mix that looks good after fifteen years. Not so good on hillsides. Leave them in pasture.

        • Inspector General

          Marie. One’s main fear are plans to re-introduce that hairy thing, the Beaver, back into the English countryside, will be absolutely disastrous to flood control in the future. Not to mention many occurrences of standing lakes of insipid water and the real possibility of malaria carrying mosquitos coming our way soon.

          Hopefully, sense will prevail and they’ll be confined to Scotland, along with other unpleasantries like the SNP, Nicola Sturgeon, Presbyterianism, Glasgow, haggis, and stabbings…

      • Phil R

        Thanks for this. I think I will plant some

        • IanCad

          Not Leylandi Phil. A tree of darkness. Half a dozen 3/8″ holes around the trunk. Four inches is enough. Fill each hole with RoundUp concentrate. Repeat after two weeks. Should do the job.
          Let there be light. It should be the duty of every patriotic subject to get rid of these wretched foreigners.

      • IanCad

        Pretty much any tree would have served Inspector. Anything but Leylandi. The vermin of the vegetable kingdom.

        • Inspector General

          Ian, Rather think leylandi hold a record regarding the amount of growth they do in 24 hours…

          • IanCad

            IG, I don’t know about that. They certainly block out more light in a short time than any tree I know of.

          • Inspector General

            A compromise then. Leylandi to dry up the ground quickly, then replaced with English oak.

  • len

    There is a massive’ wake up call’ going on at the moment as the world spins out of control but is anyone listening?.
    There are many contributing factors to the recent floods and the management of properties within areas that have been flooded past and present but the overall impression that I am getting is much like those who witnessed’ King Canute’ trying to control the elements and failing dismally.
    There are many ‘wake up calls’ going on at the moment as God tries to wake mankind from the stupor that seems to be affecting mankind as it sleepwalks towards the closing scenes of this present age….

  • cacheton

    ‘No one is comforted or helped by the crass assertion that tempests and floods are the result of God sitting in judgment upon our rebellion.’

    I agree. But having read some of the comments below several contributors actually DO find great comfort in this. It makes them feel good because it reinforces their belief in an angry judgmental punishing god.

    Your Grace, please for the New Year could we have a post about why people need to believe in an angry judgmental punishing god? Surely it is time that Religion started to understand, explore and discuss why some people still, in this day and age, feel comforted by this sort of thing.

    • dannybhoy

      We’re all at different places because we’re all growing in faith and understanding. That’s how it is in a family.

    • Quite right! What I want is a god who agrees with me at all times and thinks I’m just super.

    • chiefofsinners

      Suppose you had been the victim of an awful crime which went unpunished in this life. Would you not take comfort in the thought that God will bring every deed to light and judge all mankind justly?

      • sarky

        Not if the perpetrator became a christian.

        • Cressida de Nova

          If the perpetrator became a genuine Christian he would be bound to confess his awful crime and justice on earth would be done.

          • sarky

            Deathbed confession?

            What if Hitler had made a genuine one?
            Where’s the justice in that?

          • Phil R

            You think that you are a better person than Hitler. Then you misunderstand God and yourself

            None of us are righteous

          • sarky

            I cant remember being responsible for the deaths of millions of people.
            if god can’t see the difference then he can get stuffed.

          • Phil R

            No shades of grey with God.

            If you are not with him then you are against him.

          • sarky

            Thats why I love him so much 🙂

          • Phil R

            If it was not so, you would always not be sure of your salvation.

            If it was by works or behaviour, you would never know if you had done enough.

        • chiefofsinners

          Further to Cressida’s response below, if the victim became a Christian he would forgive the perpetrator, mindful of his own sinfulness.

          • sarky

            If they didn’t?

          • chiefofsinners

            You’re talking about a hypothetical person who isn’t a Christian themselves but does believe that another person, who has become a Christian, has been forgiven and therefore won’t be punished, by this God who they don’t believe in.
            I was making the point that Christians who believe in a God who will judge, derive comfort from the knowledge that earthly injustices will be righted.

          • sarky

            And I’m pointing out that in certain circumstances they won’t.

  • HeLives

    For me hope makes a difference. Ie, both the Christian and the Atheist can experience suffering now but after death God promises justice, the wiping away of tears etc. In other words both persons share the same problem. To me Christianty offers a solution, atheism does not.

    1 Peter 1:3.

    • sarky

      Rubbish