Does God Dabble in Peoples Lives

Listen to class: 

Does God Dabble in People’s Lives? 

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • September 3, In the year of our Lord, 2014


  1. A member here has submitted the following to me, asking and saying,
    1. “What do you say to someone like this? Must not have learned the ‘whole truth.’”
    2. What do you think of this?

      “I’ve been a deep believer my whole life. 18 years as a Southern Baptist. More than 40 years as a mainline Protestant. I’m an ordained pastor. But it’s just stopped making sense to me. You see people doing terrible things in the name of religion, and you think: ‘Those people believe just as strongly as I do. They’re just as convinced as I am.’ And it just doesn’t make sense anymore. It doesn’t make sense to believe in a God that dabbles in people’s lives. If a plane…crashes, and one person survives, everyone thanks God. They say: ‘God had a purpose for that person. God saved her for a reason!’ Do we not realize how cruel that is? Do we not realize how cruel it is to say that if God had a purpose for that person, he also had a purpose in killing everyone else on that plane? And a purpose in starving millions of children? A purpose in slavery and genocide? For every time you say that there’s a purpose behind one person’s success, you invalidate billions of people. You say there is a purpose to their suffering. And that’s just cruel.”

  2. Let us answer the question: What do you say to someone like this?


  1. What should we think when we see people doing terrible things in the name of religion? What can we say?
    1. John 16.2
    2. Rom 10.1–3
    3. Satan will divert us in anyway he can with this kind of thinking.
      1. See yourself on a journey with many distractions and detours,
      2. things and people that want to keep you from reaching your destination.
        1. The Lord of the Rings trilogy presents this motif.
    4. What if you leave any form of religion, to what shall you go?
      1. Have not people done terrible things in the name of everything and anything?
    5. Does the abuse of a good thing make the good thing bad?
    6. Romans 2.17–24 could be said about Christians or any religion,

      17 Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in God, 18 and know His will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law, 19 and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law. 21 You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? 22 You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? 24 For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” as it is written (Rom 2.17–24).

      1. We know the problem created by those who claim to know God, but
      2. who either
        1. do evil in His name, or
        2. do evil, even if not done in His name.
  2. To what extent, if at all, does God dabble in people’s lives?
    1. Why does He let one person survive, but let another one die?
    2. Is it cruel to think that way?
    3. Does He have a purpose for allowing suffering?
      1. The human race should not have been allowed to continue after sinning,

        23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 6.23).

      2. However, He by His grace, has allowed the race to continue, but
        1. sin has ruined His perfection creation, and
        2. we live in that environment.
          1. The time approaches when He will put an end to this corrupted environment, but
          2. we are on probation, showing Him where we want to live afterwards.


  1. Do not fear to engage these people in conversation, but
    1. be prepared to challenges to your faith, or
    2. to what the Bible teaches.
  2. What should you do if the person presents something that you cannot answer?
    1. Be honest: Tell him that you do not know the answer.
    2. Then go find out the answer.
    3. Think of any possible objections he might have to your answer.
    4. Then tell him what you discovered.