Life And Death
This should not be an issue for any Christian, but believe me, I’ve seen people who believe that God only “permits” death and does not cause it. What does the Scripture say?
1 Sam. 2:6 The LORD kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
It is Yahweh, the LORD, the God of the Bible, Who gives life and takes life. Both words are Verbs. It is something that God does and not merely “permits.” As the Giver of life He has every right to take it at any point He so wishes, in any way He wishes. It is He Who gives us life and creates us in the womb (Ps. 139:13-16). He is the Ultimate and Foremost Cause in our conception. It is He Who closes wombs so that they do not conceive and opens wombs so that they bear children (e.g., Gen. 20:17-18; 30:2; Ruth 4:13). After all the calamity that God (Job 42:11) brought upon Job and the death of his children, what did Job say?
Job 1:21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”
Who took? Yahweh. The Lord doesn’t owe us anything, even if we do all that He says we should do, we will only do our duty (Luke 17:7-10). We owe our very existence to His mercy and there is not a single obligation upon God that He would give us life or keep us alive. Therefore, He gives life whenever He pleases and takes life how, and whenever He pleases. All that Job had, wealth, family, cattle and whatever else he may have had, the Lord had given all of that to him. None of it ultimately came from Job, rather it was Yahweh Who gave it and He is to be blessed for that. But likewise, it is Yahweh Who ultimately took it. Yes, He did use secondary agents as Satan, the Sabeans (Job 1:15), fire from heaven (Job 1:16), the Chaldeans (Job 1:17), a great wind (Job 1:18-19). Job never says that Satan took anything from him, the Chaldeans or anything or anyone else. His charge was always against God. He connected His misery directly to the will of God. To be honest, by my reading of Job, I do not hear him or any of his friends say any word about Satan. Satan is totally absent from Job’s mind and the narrative of his friends. It is likewise an interesting observation, and in many ways sobering, that Job and his friends, never once questioned the absolute sovereignty of God, but over and over again confessed and affirmed it. That is usually the first thing which we question at the time of tragedy, but not so Job.
It is often customary when an elder sister or brother dies on their death bed or in their sleep to say that the Lord took them to Himself. But what about when one dies at the hands of ISIS, in a car crash or any other horrendous way to die? Does the manner of death, how horrible it may be, invalidate the statements that the “LORD kills” (1 Sam. 2:6) and the “LORD has taken away” (Job 1:21)? Job’s children did not die in a painless way, rather a great wind came which caused the house, in which they were feasting, to fall upon them. Still, Job cries, “the LORD has taken away” and blesses God. What about if one is eaten by a lion? Still, the Lord kills and the Lord has taken away (1 Kgs. 13:24-28). What about if people die from a famine? The Lord has called the famine upon the land (2 Kgs. 8:1; Ezek. 5:17). In whatever way we die, whether “normally” or in a dreadfu...