THE ‘WHY’ BEHIND EVERYTHING
By John Collier
September 12, 2010
…What would the conversation between Solomon and the Queen of Sheba have been?
I Kings 10: 1-9 1 Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to test him with hard questions. 2 She came to Jerusalem with a very great retinue, with camels that bore spices, very much gold, and precious stones; and when she came to Solomon, she spoke with him about all that was in her heart. 3 So Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing so difficult for the king that he could not explain it to her. 4 And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, 5 the food on his table, the seating of his servants, the service of his waiters and their apparel, his cupbearers, and his entryway by which he went up to the house of the LORD, there was no more spirit in her. 6 Then she said to the king: “It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom. 7 However I did not believe the words until I came and saw with my own eyes; and indeed the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame of which I heard. 8 Happy are your men and happy are these your servants, who stand continually before you and hear your wisdom! 9 Blessed be the LORD your God, who delighted in you, setting you on the throne of Israel! Because the LORD has loved Israel forever, therefore He made you king, to do justice and righteousness.”
I believe that the Queen of Sheba asked Solomon the hard spiritual questions about all of reality because of what we read in v 1 “concerning the name of the Lord” questions such as why was man created? Is there a purpose of everything? Is there a reason behind everything that happens (the Why behind everything)?
And then the Queen of Sheba said to King Solomon:
QOS- King Solomon I would like to discuss the question of Why? Why do things happen the way that they do? Is there some sort of order or power behind the world’s events? Are things governed by chance or is there a cause of all things??
SOL- That is an excellent question my Queen. To answer it we must determine what is the fountain or source of all answers. Can we reach the answers through observation of all of life (empiricism)? Can man reach the answers through his own internal thought processes (rationalism)? No both fall short of Omiscience which is what is required to supply the answer to these categorical absolutes. Unless you know everything exhaustively you cannot speak to cause because you would have to know all causes to speak to absolutes. There is only one source of Omniscient Knowledge that is capable of supplying the answer to these absolutes and that is the living God. To understand the why behind everything that happens in all of life we must understand the creator of everything. If and only if we are able to uncover the motives and intentions of the creator only then can we know the answer behind the why of everything. Fortunately the Creator has given us those answers. He has spoken and He tells us what his motives are. He has spoken and has told us why He does everything that He does.
QOS- Solomon please tell me the answers to these questions. This is what my soul desires most.
SOl – I could tell you Queen but then I’d have to kill you. (Just Kidding)- God tells us in His word both the primary and secondary causes behind why he does what he does.
Joshua 4:23-34 we read
23 for the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed over, 24 that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty, that you may fear the LORD your God forever.”
we will start by uncovering the secondary cause behind why God orchestrates the things that he does as Joshua tells us v24 “that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the LORD. I remember my father recounting to me the Lord’s reason behind his battle with Goliath.
I Sam 17:45-46
45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.
SOL- my fathers instruction has obviously informed my own prayers to the most high God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the building of His temple
I Kings 8:59-60
59 And may these words of mine, with which I have made supplication before the LORD, be near the LORD our God day and night, that He may maintain the cause of His servant and the cause of His people Israel, as each day may require, 60 that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God; there is no other.
9 Let all the nations be gathered together, And let the people be assembled. Who among them can declare this, And show us former things?
Let them bring out their witnesses, that they may be justified; Or let them hear and say, “It is truth.” 10 “ You are My witnesses,” says the LORD,
“ And My servant whom I have chosen, That you may know and believe Me, And understand that I am He.
Isaiah 45:3, 5-6
3 I will give you the treasures of darkness. And hidden riches of secret places, That you may know that I, the LORD,
Who call you by your name, Am the God of Israel. 5 I am the LORD, and there is no other; There is no God besides Me.
I will gird you, though you have not known Me, 6 That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting That there is none besides Me.
I am the LORD, and there is no other;
15 “Then they shall know that I am the LORD, when I scatter them among the nations and disperse them throughout the countries. 16 But I will spare a few of their men from the sword, from famine, and from pestilence, that they may declare all their abominations among the Gentiles wherever they go. Then they shall know that I am the LORD.”
QOS- this is a terrible thing that will happen to Israel. Are you saying the terrible things such as their dispersion and Captivity are of God also?
SOL- Prov 16:4-4 The LORD has made all for Himself, Yes, even the wicked for the day of doom. Hear again the reason for our Sabbaths:
20 hallow My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the LORD your God.’
15 Then you will come from your place out of the far north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great company and a mighty army. 16 You will come up against My people Israel like a cloud, to cover the land. It will be in the latter days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me, when I am hallowed in you, O Gog, before their eyes.”
Dan 4:17 –
“I saw in the visions of my head while on my bed, and there was a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven. 14 He cried aloud and said thus Chop down the tree and cut off its branches, Strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the beasts get out from under it, And the birds from its branches.15 Nevertheless leave the stump and roots in the earth, Bound with a band of iron and bronze, In the tender grass of the field. Let it be wet with the dew of heaven, And let him graze with the beasts On the grass of the earth. 16 Let his heart be changed from that of a man, Let him be given the heart of a beast, And let seven times[a] pass over him. 17 ‘ This decision is by the decree of the watchers,
And the sentence by the word of the holy ones, In order that the living may know That the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, Gives it to whomever He will, And sets over it the lowest of men.’
9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic, 11 “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”
31 But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do. Arise, let us go from here.
17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding[a] being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.
SOL- Queen, here we have clearly seen that the secondary cause behind God executing his decree and superintending the events in history that He has ordained is that God intends that they may know both His Person and His power. The primary cause of everything however as well as the answer to why everything happens may only be uncovered by discovering what God’s primary goal is. Due to the nature of God, specifically that he is perfect righteousness, and perfect holiness (Is 5:16- But the LORD of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, And God who is holy shall be hallowed in righteousness) , and the Creator of all things, God only can have one primary goal. That is to seek himself John 8:5050– And I do not seek My own glory; there is One who seeks and judges).-,because in the beginning God is all there was. Everything that exists, flows out of God and exists for him – Col 1:16 – 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. Heb 2:10- 10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
SOL- You see Queen not only has everything been created by Him but it is unequivocally stated time and time again that it is all for Him. At this point it is important for your understanding to define “for him” because God cannot and does not benefit from his creation as far as concerns his essence because he is perfect Duet 32:4 – He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He.
. God’s creation cannot add anything to his essence and He cannot gain anything from His creation because God is completely self satisfied, self contained, and in need of absolutely nothing. Acts 17:24-26, 28- 24 God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. 25 Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. 26 And He has made from one blood[a] every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 28 for in Him we live and move and have our being,
So, although, none of God’s creation or His superintendance of all of history can add anything to His essence, and it is actually most accurate to describe man as an articulated proposition in the mind of God, the scripture lucidly explains why God does create man and then why he Sovereignly ordains and causes all things. In fact one of my favorite discussions with my father came as he explained at a very early age :
Psalm 119:16 to me – 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body…All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Sol: Queen there is one Eternal Unchangeable Decree from the Lord of Hosts- an eternal decree that proceeded from God that logically necessitates “the fixity of all things”- The God of the Universe has called out how all of history is to transpire before the world ever began.
Acts 15:18- 18Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.
2 Tim 1:9- 9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,
I Peter 1:20- He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.
Fortunately for us God relates to us why he did everytjing that he did
1 John 5:20
And we that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.
God has told us plainly that it is His goal to gain glory for himself by manifesting His attributes to the world
O LORD, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth, Who have set Your glory above the heavens
God has created man specifically to praise Him
10 All you have made will praise you, O LORD; your saints will extol you. 11 They will tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, 12 so that all men may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom
.Isaiah 42:8- 8 “I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols.
Isaiah 43:7, 21, 25
7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” 21 the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise. 25 “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.
1And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. 2And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
3Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
35They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.
37When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: 38″Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”[b] “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” 40″I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
8Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.
4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
Rom 9:15-17 15For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.”[f] 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.
Rom 9-21-23- 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?
22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory,
Ezek: 28:22- and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: ” ‘I am against you, O Sidon, and I will gain glory within you. They will know that I am the LORD, when I inflict punishment on her and show myself holy within her.
Exodus 5:17- 22- But he (Pharoah) said, “You are idle! Idle! Therefore you say, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the LORD.’ 18 Therefore go now and work; for no straw shall be given you, yet you shall deliver the quota of bricks.” 19 And the officers of the children of Israel saw that they were in trouble after it was said, “You shall not reduce any bricks from your daily quota.”
20 Then, as they came out from Pharaoh, they met Moses and Aaron who stood there to meet them. 21 And they said to them, “Let the LORD look on you and judge, because you have made us abhorrent in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to kill us.”
22 So Moses returned to the LORD and said, “Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me? 23 For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all.”
Sol- Even Moses with his direct interaction with the Sovereign Lord cried out in his soul to God after Pharoah placed on the Israelites the burden of the same quota of bricks but with no straw supplied as he says “Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people? and “Why is it that you have sent me. Shortly thereafter however God gives Moses the answer as to why the entire panplea regarding Egypt, Israel, and hardening of the Pharoah’s heart by God was staged by God in Exodus Chapter 14:
Exodus 14:4- And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD.”
I believe that you will find the question most interesting Queen “that when Moses asked the Lord to show him His glory, what was Moses shown?
Exodus 33:12-13, 19 Then Moses said to the LORD, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people.’ But You have not let me know whom You will send with me. Yet You have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight.’ 13 Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.”
19 Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you.12Exodus 34:5-7- 5 Now the LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. 6 And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, 7 keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty (i.e Justice), visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.” i.e.(Wrath)
Sol- Queen, Moses asked to see God’s glory and what did God show him? His attributes. I think it is fair to say that the scripture is clear; the answer to Why everything happens and Why God does all things is; secondarily, that man may know both God and his power, but primarily God does everything in order that He might show (manifest) his attributes to the world) as a result of His goal of seeking His own glory.
QOS- Solomon it appears indisputable from scripture of the cause of all things but there is one fatal flaw in all of your reasoning. It seems quite obvious that God is the cause of all things, but that clearly not all things are good, in fact quite the opposite. It may be argued that most things are bad or even evil. In that case either God is not omnipotent because if he were he would eradicate the evil or, if God is omnipotent, then He Himself must be evil because he not only does he not eradicate the sin but He as you say is the primary cause of it!
Sol- My Dear Queen you have not failed to grasp the necessary deductions from our propositions thus far However there is no flaw my Queen for it is impossible that God could evince any of His attributes apart from the existence of evil and sin.
Perhaps two of the most revealing versus in all of scripture are where Jesus tells us in:
Luke 17:1-1 Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! and in
Matt 18:7- 7 Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!
Sol- The reason that offenses must come may be best illustrated by the following question. Can any of God’s attributes be illustrated or manifested apart from evil and sin? Since it is explicitly God’s goal to manifest His attributes to the World as a result of seeking His own glory, should we be surprised regarding the prevalence of sin in this world.
Matt 49-54- 48Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.
49And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.
50And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus and took him.
51And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear.
52Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
53Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
54But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?
Sol- So my Queen, as we have seen today, whether it is the drying up of the Rivers of the Jordan, the hardening of the Pharoah’s heart, my father’s slaying of a Philistine Giant as a boy, my Sovereignly ordained prayer at the building of God’s Temple, the Prophecies of God, the drowning of the Egyptians in the Red Sea, treasures and hidden riches given to Israel by God, the captivity and dispersion of God’s people among the Nations by Assyria and then Babylon, the utter humbling of the most powerful King of Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar), the reason for God punishing a Nation (Sidon), God’s giving of the Sabbath to His people, the seige and Captivity of Israel by Gog in the latter days, the reason for a man being born a paralytic, the reason for a man being born blind, the reason why the Messiah had to ascend to His Father after his resurrection, the reason that the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation in the knowlede of God were given to the Saints, why the Son of God came and gave men understanding, how man was created for the purpose of praising the Creator, why some people in God’s house are made for common purposes and others are for common use, why some of God’s creatures are saved and others are consigned to perdition, and even the reason the wicked were created, all of this Queen is ordained by God in order that Man may know God and His power and because He is gaining glory for Himself by the manifesting of His attributes to the universe; which is all that He can do Queen because He is all that there is! (End of First Conversation)
27 Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes,
14 If He should set His heart on it, If He should gather to Himself His Spirit and His breath, 15 All flesh would perish together, And man would return to dust.
Col 1:16- 16For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.
4The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.
25And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.
QOS- Well what of free will then?
SOL- What of it?
QOS- Well nothing seems clearer to a man or of more fundamental common acceptance than that he is freely making his own choices?
SOL- Agreed, but the operative word is “seems” – ” Proverbs 14:12-12There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” This verse was never more true than in the mistaken notion of “The Free Will of Man”. That concept is never found anywhere in the pages of Holy Writ, in fact Scripture emphatically informs us in the strongest of terms and examples that the Sovereignty of God and the “Free will of Man” logically are mutually exclusive propositions and the Sovereignty of God logically precludes the free will of man. Clearly:
Proverbs 16:1 KJV-
1The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD
9A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.
QOS-Wait a minute Solomon these verses show that Man is making his own choices.
SOL- Of Course man makes choices, however, since the definition of choice is a conscious mental act that initiates and determines a further action, it is better said Queen that man may have many choices in his mind at any time (all of which are superintended by God,
Prov 21:1-1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.)
but the final action always comes out in accordance with the Eternal Decree
21 There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the LORD’s counsel—that will stand.
QOS- How then would man be viewed as any different than just a mere puppet of God?
SOL- Interesting Queen, a favorite yet purile rebuttal of the Sophists – this question fails to understand however the nature of Voluntary Agency- The scripture clearly stipulates that man makes choices. But the real question is are the choices uncaused or superintended by God and caused? That my Queen is the only issue. To establish that answer we only have one epistemic foundation “20To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Is 8:20. Shall we look to a piece of clay that states “Nothing is clearer to me than the fact that I am making my own uncaused choices” or the very words of the creator of the Universe for our epistemic platform, who says- Prov 20:24 “24 A man’s steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand his own way?
Jer: 10:23- 23 O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.
I Kings 8:54-60
54 And so it was, when Solomon had finished praying all this prayer and supplication to the LORD, that he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven. 55 Then he stood and blessed all the assembly of Israel with a loud voice, saying: 56 “Blessed be the LORD, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised. There has not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised through His servant Moses. 57 May the LORD our God be with us, as He was with our fathers. May He not leave us nor forsake us, 58 that He may incline our hearts to Himself, to walk in all His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, which He commanded our fathers.