“I feel it was all God’s plan.”
You had better bet that the witch-hunting prosecution will be as eager to condemn this “heresy” as the press when they go after Zimmerman in a courtroom for daring to defend his own life. I hope they are ready for it when it comes at them: “Mr. Zimmerman, were you acting as an agent for God when you shot and killed the victim? Didn’t you say that you thought it was God’s plan for you to kill Trayvon Martin?”
When I heard George Zimmerman refer to “God’s plan” in his interview with Sean Hannity, I a) immediately understood him to be referring more to the fact that he had survived than that Trayvon Martin had been killed and b) just as immediately knew that the press would have a field day depicting Zimmerman as some crazed hater out “doing God’s will” by murdering teenagers. Because that’s the way they’ve exploited this tragedy from the very beginning in terms of prejudicing every single story against George Zimmerman.
Let me take on Trayvon Martin’s father’s words:
As Trayvon Martin’s father told the Associated Press, “We must worship a different God. There is no way that my God wanted George Zimmerman to murder my teenage son.”
I would argue that, yes, we probably have a very different God.
Trayvon Martin’s father has a god who has no plan. God didn’t have a plan that night that Trayvon Martin was shot. The Martin family god isn’t smart enough, or isn’t powerful enough, or isn’t even good enough, to have had a plan. The Martin family god wasn’t even there that night. Because their god isn’t very much good for anything.
My God IS smart enough, because my God is omniscient and knows everything. My God IS powerful enough, because He is omnipotent and knows everything. My God IS good enough, because He is omnibenevolent and serves as the universal standard throughout the universe that He created as to what is good. And my God WAS there that night, because my God is omnipresent and his presence fills His universe such that nothing was beyond Him.
When you really start asking questions about how God DIDN’T have a plan the night Trayvon Martin was killed, and understand that “if God didn’t want Trayvon Martin ‘murdered’” the way Trayvon Martin’s father – and pretty much the entirety of the mainstream media propaganda – frames the discussion, that God pretty much isn’t in charge of a damn thing in this world, you start to realize what George Zimmerman meant. I don’t know about Trayvon Martin’s father; but I DO know that an astonishing majority of the mainstream media are atheists in proportion to the 92% of Americans who believe in God. For example:
“And while about 60 percent of Americans say morality and a belief in God are inexorably linked, only 6 percent of national journalists and executives surveyed believe that.:
So you need to understand that the people who are attacking “God’s plan” and the people who most hate God to begin with are largely, albeit not exclusively, the same people.
On my view, and apparently on George Zimmerman’s view, God WAS there the night that Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin and Trayvon Martin died, and God DID have a plan. These are simply necessary theological premises for anyone who takes the Holy Bible even remotely seriously. There are many things which happen in this world – a world tainted by the Fall described in the first chapters of Genesis – that we don’t and frankly can’t understand. But that doesn’t make it any less true.
God is not the author of evil. He did not “invent” evil OR good, for that matter. God IS good; goodness is an essential quality in God that necessarily flows from His character. But when God created free-willed beings (angels and humans), God knew that these free-willed, finite, limited beings would ultimately be corrupted and would choose (“invent”) evil out of their natures. Neither the fall of Lucifer and a third of His angels nor the subsequent fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden took God by surprise. There is a line from a movie: “Infinite goodness is creating a being you know in advance is going to complain.” God knew the fall would happen; He didn’t WANT it to happen or will it to happen; but He knew THAT it would happen. He knew that limited, finite beings would ultimately selfishly choose to reject Him and His plan. But God had a plan that would overcome evil and bring about a greater good. In fact, a good so great that it would overcome and outweigh all the evil that was done by His created, free-willed beings since the beginning of time.
In my own theology, the rebirth of Israel was a major component of God’s prophetic plan. Ezekiel 37:1-14 as dried up, dead, desiccated bones that will return to life. Which is exactly what happened in the miracle of 1948 when a nation that had been dead for centuries returned to life. Jesus is the Son, the Word of God (John 1:1-3). And yes, Jews have largely rejected God’s Son. But God never turned His back on His people the Jews. God’s hand is on the Jews, whether they like it or not. They ARE “His people.” In the fullness of time, according to His divine plan, God WILL return to Israel and will ultimately bring them to a point in which He “will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn” (Zechariah 12:10).
Now, with that, if I say, “The Holocaust was God’s plan,” it can very easily be framed in a way that sounds utterly hateful and abhorrent. It can easily be made to sound heartless. It is a statement that is a “Godsend” for God-hating propagandists.
But it was part of God’s plan, nevertheless. God did not WANT the Holocaust to happen; God did NOT want 6 million Jews to be killed as if they were insects to be exterminated. But God also did not want the Jewish people to forever continue to wander without a land as they had prior to 1948. And God did not want them to continue to wallow in unbelief of the God who had called to them through Abraham, through Isaac, through Jacob – and yes, through their Messiah Jesus.
It was as a result of the Holocaust that a shamed, grieving world finally allowed the creation of a Jewish state in 1948. Simply put, no objection could outweigh the suffering that the Jewish people had suffered; no sufficient reson could be provided that the Jews should not have a government to protect them against the next monster to come along. And so in 1948, accompanied by miracle after miracle, the nation of Israel emerged and triumphed over an enemy that outnumbered them fifty to one who was as determined to exterminate them as Hitler had been.
And ultimately, I believe with every fiber of my being that God will be true to His word to Israel and not abandon them, but bring them into His arms and into true “shalom.”
What’s the flip side of that view? The flip side is that the Holocaust was merely an event that had no meaning and no higher purpose. It was just “one of those tragic things.” God didn’t have any plan and He wasn’t involved. God was just casually watching the earth like a cosmic fishbowl for His amusement. There is no purpose to evil and suffering; in fact, there’s really no purpose in anything. We might talk about “God” to comfort ourselves, but really there is nobody upstairs. And George Zimmerman’s words, “I feel it was all God’s plan,” are incorrect simply because God isn’t the kind of being who is capable of having a plan or seeing His plan through, is He?
Elie Wiesel recounts a particularly terrible moment of his life in chapter 4 of his book Night. In chapter 3, he’d arrived at Auschwitz. He was told, “Do you see that chimney over there? See it? Do you see those flames? (Yes, we did see the flames). Over there – that’s where you’re going to be taken. That’s your grave, over there.” In the next chapter, Wiesel recounts how the Nazis decided to make an example of three men whom they randomly pulled out of the line of inmates and hung on a gallows. Two of the men were older, and died quickly. But one, whom Wiesal described as “an angel-faced pipel,” struggled grotesquely as he strangled to death on the gallows. “Where is God now?” Wiesel heard a voice muttering behind him. “Where is God?” And Wiesel wrote, “And I heard a voice within me answer him: ‘Where is He? Here He is—He is hanging here on this gallows. . . .’”
Which God literally hung in death, having been executed for His people? Re-read Zechariah 12:10 and then read the Gospel of John for that answer.
Yes, God was at Auschwitz. God was there. The same God that Christians know who hung and died on the cross for our sins was there in the very darkest moment of the Jews. God grieved. But God had a plan.
Had God decided to abandon mankind to its sins and its self-destructiveness? There’s a story that I remember vividly. In 1994 a South Carolina mother named Susan Smith loaded her two young children into a car and then rolled that car into a lake so that they would drown. Why? Because she wanted to be with a man who didn’t want a ready-made family. And she could have other children him, right? Sometimes we feel that God is that kind of God. But the coming of Jesus into the world proves that He isn’t. Our God is a God who comes to us in the darkness and in our terror. He comes to our aid. He rescues us. Even in the worst and the ugliest moments. The great biography “The Hiding Place” by Corrie Ten Boom recounts the extermination of her entire Dutch family in the death camps for having dared to help Jews. Before she died in the Ravensbrück death camp after having been beaten by a guard, Corrie’s sister Betsie assured her, “There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.”
And there isn’t.
No matter what happens.
It comforts me to believe – to know by faith – that God has a design, a plan, for even the terrible things that happen.
If one of my loved ones were shot and killed – whether by accident, in an act of self-defense, or in a murder – it would comfort me to believe that God had some greater purpose for allowing that death to occur.
I hope that the Martin family can get to the point in which they care capable of accepting comfort in the belief that God had some higher purpose in allowing their son to be killed.
But while I agree that tactically, given the sheer theological ignorance and the left’s clear intent to frame and blame George Zimmerman in every way imaginable, George Zimmerman’s words were probably not the wisest, I nevertheless can’t see anything wrong with what he said from the standpoint of someone who bothers to read his Bible.
As I write this, America is reeling over the latest tragedy as James Holmes perpetuated our latest mass murder in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. People are asking, “What’s wrong with the world?”
Well, it reminds me of a true story about G.K. Chesterton. Long ago, the London Times asked a number of different writers for essays on the topic to be published in the newspaper on exactly that topic – “What’s Wrong with the World?” And the other writers wrote thousands of words explaining the dilemma of the world, but Chesterton’s essay was by far the shortest and by far the most to the point. Chesterton wrote, “Dear sirs: I am. Sincerely yours, G.K. Chesterton.”
God could end evil today. All He would have to do is wipe you – yes, that’s YOU – out. Along with me. Because of the evil that WE do.
One day, which I believe is coming soon, God WILL finally end all evil. Until that day, I believe that God ultimately has a purpose for everything that happens in this world. And a plan to bring ultimate good to fruition.