Verse 5, Divine Protection of Christians?
Patheos' Bob Seidensticker claims there is a contradiction here and makes the following comments (italicized):
|“||Does God prevent harm to good Christians?
In response to a church shooting, where good Christians were doubtless praying to God but still got shot, Christian apologist Greg Koukl pushed back against the idea that anyone should be surprised (I responded here). In fact, he assures us, Jesus promised persecution.
1 Peter 4:12-13 ¶ Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
Koukl said, “There is . . . no rationale, no line of thinking that if God does exist that only good things happen to people, particularly people who believe in God, especially Christians.” In fact, the Good Book says precisely that:
Proverbs 12:21 ¶ There shall no evil happen to the just: but the wicked shall be filled with mischief.
Psalms 91:5-10 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. ¶ Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
When Christians desperately praying for their lives in a church are gunned down, atheists are right to point out that this makes one question God’s existence.
The Bible makes very clear throughout that God's blessing does not always or necessarily occur during this life. There are evil people who prosper in this life, and righteous people who do not. (Ecclesiastes 7:15; 8:14) Wealth in this life is a poor determinant of ultimate wealth for eternity. There are those who make themselves poor in this life but are rich, and those who make themselves rich in this life but have nothing of value. (Proverbs 13:7) A final judgment and life after this one will set right the wrongs of this life, so that the righteous who suffered will be those in power, and the wicked who had power will be those suffering. (Luke 16:25; 6:24-25; Matthew 5:3-4; Isaiah 65:13-14; James 5:1-8)
Indeed, Christians are expected to follow Christ's example in enduring suffering (1 Peter 4:12-14). Does it really make sense for Christians to expect they will be exempted from the trials their leader, the Son of God, endured?
In the case of Job, God allowed Satan to persecute him; but God ultimately blessed him and showed favor to him, blessing him with twice as much as what he had lost. (Job 41:10-12) God used Job's trials to refine him, making him even stronger as a warrior for God, and justify even greater rewards for him. (Zechariah 13:9) God uses trials to refine His servants, the way that fire is used to refine metals and make them stronger. (Malachi 3:3; Proverbs 17:3; 27:21; Jeremiah 9:7; Isaiah 1:25; 13:12) Jesus Himself was purified and refined through sufferings, to make Him the perfect leader for all time. (Hebrews 2:10; 5:8-9) God's chastening is used to make us stronger warriors for His kingdom. Christians are thus encouraged to endure suffering as faithful soldiers of Christ. (2 Timothy 2:3; Hebrews 12:5-11)
Furthermore, a rudimentary reading of Psalms 91 shows that it is not referring to everyone, but to "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High... under the shadow of the Almighty." (v. 1) Verse 11 is specifically a prophecy of Jesus, so the chapter appears to be referring to Jesus specifically. (cp. Matthew 4:6; Luke 4:10-11)
- ↑ Seidensticker, P. (2018, October 20). "Top 20 Most Damning Bible Contradictions." Patheos.