My friend Bill Kinnon sometimes mentions a post by John Piper that bothers him. Piper recounts a conversation he had with his daughter after a bridge collapsed in Minneapolis:
But you and I know that God did not do anything wrong. God always does what is wise. And you and I know that God could have held up that bridge with one hand.” Talitha said, “With his pinky.” “Yes,” I said, “with his pinky. Which means that God had a purpose for not holding up that bridge, knowing all that would happen, and he is infinitely wise in all that he wills.”
Talitha said, “Maybe he let it fall because he wanted all the people of Minneapolis to fear him.” “Yes, Talitha,” I said, “I am sure that is one of the reasons God let the bridge fall.”
I do not believe in a God who foreordains every action, but in a God who is not surprised by anything. As an example, the collapse of the I35 bridge in Minneapolis/St. Paul was not part of God’s sovereign plan – no matter what Piper told his young daughter.
This is a huge issue. What role does God play in the bad things that happen? Does Piper’s belief that God ordains all things make God the author of evil?
Tomorrow I’ll list some passages that bear on this question.