As I was thinking about my most recent post on supralapsarianism, I was struck by the idea that it is too often the case that Christians respond to the constant barrage of “why” questions relating to God’s purpose in determining any event by presupposing the legitimacy of the question. I catch myself sometimes asking these questions – why this difficulty? why now? – and proceeding to speculate as to various reasons God would decree such. There is, in truth, only one reason anything happens, one reason for God’s decrees: to the furtherance of the manifestation of His glory.
Although I am certainly not an authority on pastoral theology, I can imagine that many pastors fail to address the semantic error inherent in these questions they so often face. I say they “fail” because it really is a failure when an opportunity is missed to change the whole framework from which questions spring. If someone would only tell a person struggling with answers pertaining to meaning in life that he is asking the wrong questions – if it is only kept in mind that God’s ultimate purpose in all things is the manifestation of His glory – his attention can properly shift to the right questions asked with a proper mindset: a mindset of understanding rather than interrogation, one which asks, not “why,” but “how” a given thing can function as a proximate means unto this ultimate purpose. Any “why” question relating to God’s proximate purpose(s) can actually be resolved into “how” questions relating to God’s ultimate purpose, and reflection upon this point will prove that it is not inconsiderable.