I just listened to James Gardner offer what I think is the best lecture so far at the Freed-Hardeman Lectureships. James Gardner, an associate professor of Philosophy and Bible and Freed-Hardeman, address the question, Do Current Calamities Indicate the Judgment of God?” The text comes from Haggai 2:6-7. Gardner’s presentation was well balanced and centered entirely on the Scriptures. His conclusion? “I don’t know.”
I am always impressed when a man of learning says “I don’t know.” It says that he feels no need to craft an answer when one is not evident.
Gardner notes that miracles, that is, divine intervention in our world, occur when God chooses to reveal his work. Many things may seem miraculous but unless God makes it clear that he has intervened it really is not a miracle in the Biblical sense. A review of all the Biblical miracles will bear out his teaching on this point. In close connection he reminds us that it is intolerable to speak where God has not spoken. We must declare God’s when God has not so labeled it. But it is also intolerable to ignore what God has said what warnings he has given.
Throughout the Minor Prophets God has repeatedly warned that those who do not follow him will be punished in some fashion. Indeed for the Christian, the goal must be eternity and not the present world. Nevertheless we should expect chastisement from God for he chastens those whom he loves.
It may be that God raises and destroys nations and peoples today. But since God has not clearly spoken we cannot know if individual events are from God or merely the common events of life.
Gardner also addresses whether all things that occur are truly God’s will.
Recordings of this lecture and all lectures are available at www.fhu.edu.