God Made a Blind Man?

(If you have not done so already, please read the previous posting, "God is in 'Control'?" This essay builds on the previous one.)

Theology can influence how Bibles are translated, published and read. Religious training steers the Biblically uninformed and illiterate into reading scripture in a manner agreeable with accepted theology. The religious adherent are trained to read out of context and to ignore previous scripture on the same subject.

Religion has been teaching for centuries that God is in control of everything; thus sickness and disease is sent by him upon those who sin against him. This doctrine is a logical one, IF God really is in control and is directing everything. Supposedly, this doctrine is a recognition of the supreme majestic rulership of God. This is most curious, because this doctrine requires that we accuse our wonderful heavenly father of unimaginable evil in order to recognize his supremacy.

 

In the book of John, there is a record of a man born blind. The question on the mind of the disciples was a legalistic one – who sinned and caused this man to be born blind? Was it his parents or was it the man himself? You can see that the doctrine of reincarnation had been influencing the Hebrew culture of the 1st century. It is also plain that they did not dare take the unimaginable step of accusing God of causing this mans blindness.
 
For centuries and even in our day, this scripture is translated purposely to read that God (capriciously) made a man to be born blind so that Jesus could heal him. Lets examine a contemporary translation of this scripture.
 
John 9:1 – 4 (ESV)
1 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.
 
Notice a few details; there are verse numbers, punctuation and capitalization of words. The manuscripts we have which are used to generate the Bible translations (not the versions) have no verses, punctuation or capitalization. The verses, punctuation and capitalization were all added by man and are not inspired by God. None of the prophets or men of God that wrote the scriptures were ever directed to include verses or punctuation. These were all added by the translators. Sometimes they did a good job, other times they were so influenced by their man made political, religious and theological background that it affected their translation.
 
In this case, one small period causes the truth to be lost. One small period is all that stands between the truth of the goodness of God and the error of accusing Him of monstrous evil. This period is at the end of verse 3 and before the beginning of verse 4.
 
John 9:3, 4 (ESV)
3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.
 
Jesus answers the question, indicating that no one sinned; sin was not the cause of this man being born blind. That is the answer to the question. However, he continues speaking. The next word is "but". This sets in contrast that which follows with that which was spoken before. Now Jesus is speaking about the works of God. Removing the period at the end of verse 3 does not violate the integrity of the Word of God as it was added by man. Lets remove it and read what Jesus said:
 
"…but that the works of God might be displayed in him, we must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work."
 
So, what did Jesus really say? He concluded answering the disciples question and began teaching them that NOW is the time to perform the works of God. In order that the works of God might be displayed in this blind man, "we", Jesus and the disciples, must work the works of him who sent me while it is day.
 
This is a vast difference between the truth of the goodness of God and the theologically influenced translation which propounds error through a simple period.
 
The "Holy Bible from the ancient eastern text" (ISBN 0-06-064923-2) by George M. Lamsa is a translation from the Aramaic Peshitta text. It handles this scripture as follows:
 
"3 Jesus said to them, Neither did he sin nor his parents. But that the works of God might be seen in him, 4 I must do the works of him who sent me, while it is day; the night comes when no man can work."
 
The conclusion and the answer to the question posed by the title of this essay is NO. No, God did not make a blind man. He did not cause a man to be born blind. God was the source of his deliverance. Through his son, Jesus Christ, the man was healed of his blindness. Now you know the truth. Glorify God, for he is ALWAYS GOOD!
 
Leave a comment, or contact me at keith@ksradcliffe.com
(C)2013 Keith S. Radcliffe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God is in “Control”?

The doctrine that God is in "control" of all creation may seem logical and may seem to be acknowledging the true position of God. As with any doctrine the question arises, "is this doctrine scriptural"? To explore the scriptures on this subject, one must know that the Bible is basically an eastern book – it was originally addressed and written to people of a different culture. Thus, the researcher must understand concepts such as the Hebrew "idiom of permission" and the Hebrew concept of "agency". However, in this essay I will endeavor to keep things simple.

In Genesis 1:26 – 31, 2:5 – 9 is the record of the beginning of mankind; a being with body, and the breath of God (spirit, the image of God). Mankind (male and female, equally) was given dominion, which is "rulership" over all the kingdoms of the earth. This included the earth and everything in the earth. Not only that, mankind (male and female, equally) was given the authority, commission, and means to subdue the earth and have the rulership over the earth. They were to take responsibility and get to work as God commanded. All this authority and ability was delegated to mankind by God.

Genesis 2:16, 17 declares that the position of mankind as rulers over all the kingdoms of the earth was conditional. They could lose their position as ruler (i.e. they would die) if they did not obey this one condition.

Pay attention to one important detail. In the previous verses considered, nothing about ownership was ever stated. This is very important. Although mankind was given complete dominion and rulership, they were never given ownership over the world.

In Genesis 3:14 – 19, God declares the consequences of the actions of the serpent (the devil), Eve and Adam. Briefly, the devil is cursed. He has the authority and access to obtain his nourishment from the earth (dust) which includes mankind. The ground (earth, dust) is cursed and by implication mankind is cursed as well. The man must now labor in order to obtain nourishment – he is no longer ruler over the earth. In fact, at this point, mankind is considered to be dead (Ephesians 2:1)

What happened to the rulership over all the kingdoms of the world? Read Luke 4:1 – 8. In verse 6, the devil declares that the authority and the glory (exercised power) of the kingdoms of the world was delivered to him. The reader may scoff at this declaration, thinking that the devil lied here. If he was lying, Jesus had the understanding and insight to be able to expose the lie. Jesus did not do this; instead he focused in on the concept of worship. By his response, Jesus declared that his worship of God could not be bought at any price.

Ephesians 2:1 – 3 describes the dominion and rulership of the devil over mankind and the environment. Ephesians 6:10 – 12 describe the spiritual war we have with the evil spiritual rulers of the darkness of this world. This is not speaking about flesh and blood!

Finally, Revelation 12:3 mentions a sign appearing in heaven. This sign is a great red dragon which has seven heads and a diadem or crown on every head. The crowns are a reference to the rulership and authority which is exercised by the red dragon. In 13:1 is the description of a creature which has ten crowns on its ten horns. Again these are references to rulership and authority. In this case its rulership and authority had been delegated to the beast by the dragon. These are all figurative, pictorial descriptions of the devil and the rulership which was delivered to him when Adam fell.

God is Good, Always. Even Jesus stated, "…why do you call me 'good'? No one is good except God alone…" (Mat 19:17, Mark 10:18, Luke 18:19). Even Jesus rejected the application of "good" to himself!

If God is in complete control of all creation, then someone has a lot of explaining to do for all the evil and destruction that happens in the natural environment. To say that God is in complete control of all creation is equal to accusing God of evil.

No, God is NOT in complete control of the earth and everything in it. He retains ownership of the earth. He is a Just God – everything he delegated continues to function. Those beings who exercise the delegated authority function as tenants of the earth, not as owners. There is coming a day when the consequences declared in Genesis 3 will come to an end. Even the earth yearns for this day as is mentioned in Romans 8:18 – 23.

So, we have seen how the doctrine that God is in complete "control" of everything is not scriptural. God does retain ownership of his creation. Because he is always Good and Just, he does not interfere with the functioning of the kingdoms of the world. Because of the accomplishments of his son, there will be a day when the curse is removed and the creation will be restored. On that day his son will rule and will submit himself to the rulership of his father, God.

Leave a comment, or contact me at keith@ksradcliffe.com
(C)2013 Keith S. Radcliffe