I recently had the opportunity to read through almost all of the books of R.C. Sproul. Along the way I built a collection of some of the best quotes from each one of them. Here are several of the best from When Worlds Collide.
The events of 9/11 were a mortal blow to relativism, because the response of Americans and the response of people the world over, after looking at this heinous attack on human life, was the very “unrelativistic” declaration that “This is evil.”
One cannot have such a shocking encounter with pure evil and walk away, saying, “Well, it’s a relative thing.”
If we look carefully at the biblical understanding of God and construct our worldview on this basis, we see that God in His providence is a sovereign God, who not only governs nature and the laws of nature but who raises nations up and brings nations low. Within His providence come both blessing and calamity.
I do not know why God ordained 9/11, but I know that He did ordain it because if He did not ordain it, it would not have happened. Since it happened, I know for certain that God ordained it in some sense. That is one of the most difficult concepts even for devout Christians to deal with. Yet the concept is found on almost every page of sacred Scripture. It is at the very heart of the Christian faith.
The word “tragedy” presupposes some kind of order or purpose in the world. If the world has purpose and order, then all that occurs in it is meaningful in some respect. The idea of a “senseless tragedy” represents a worldview that is completely incompatible with Christian thought. It assumes that something happens without purpose or without meaning.
We often see the wrath of God as somehow being an impediment to our view of God’s character. That’s because, in present-day America, our view of God’s character is an idol. It is an idol of a God who has been stripped of His true attributes. He’s a God who is defined in terms of love and mercy and grace, but we have thrown out any idea of His being just and holy and wrathful. If we are going to be faithful to the biblical understanding of God, we have to understand that He is, among other things, a God of wrath.
If God were to examine my life, He would find enough ungodliness and unrighteousness to be inclined to pick me up, use His sickle to cut me from the earth, and throw me into the winepress of His wrath. That would be completely consistent with His perfection, His holiness, and His glory. But thanks be to God that He has given us a way of salvation by which we can escape His fury.