Dear CPATS Apologists,
I'm doing a little private research and would
be grateful if you could ask one of your eminent
staff to explain, as clear as possible, the
meaning of the following verse and suggest
what relevance it might have in today's world.
Is it not from the mouth of the Most
High that good and evil come.
I'm assuming Lamentations was written by Jeremiah, following the destruction of
Jerusalem in 587 B.C. and was probably concerned
with the importance of covenant faithfulness
Can you explain,
as clear as possible, the
meaning of Lamentations 3:38 and its relevance today? }
Lamentations 3:38 is a similar passage
to the following:
I make weal and create woe;
I the Lord do all these things.
Does disaster befall a city,
unless the Lord has done it?
Essentially, the principle is one
of God's sovereignty. It is an atypical
Semitic manner of speaking, which
ascribes to God's sovereign will all that
happens in the world. The ancient
Israelite often did not make any
kind of distinction between God's permissive will,
and His active will.
One could say, in these types of
passages, God initiates the good
by way of His active will,
and initiates the evil by way of
his permissive will. It is
a way of speaking, peculiar to some
of the ancient Biblical authors.
Of course, here, we begin to get
into some of the controversies that
came to a head during the Reformation
period, especially as exhibited by
the writings of Calvin, but that
is a discussion for another day.
I'm still greatly confused, but I
get the gist of what you are saying.
I would be very interested in hearing
what the Pope, himself, thought of
this interpretation in view of the
conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Many thanks for your reply.
Your concern seems to imply that
the Pope or the Catholic Church
has some definitive interpretation
on this, or most other passages in
Scripture. The Church does not have
an official interpretation on this
or any other passage in Scripture,
except for possibly six or seven
of them. Of course, I don't presume
to know what Pope John Paul II is
thinking; I'm almost certain that
this verse from Lamentations is not
foremost, if at all, in his thoughts
concerning the events in Iraq and
If one wants to know what a particular
passage of Scripture means, then
one could consult a good Biblical
commentary on it for beginners. Consulting
a variety of them would even be better.
If they all seem to converge on a
particular interpretation, then the
proper interpretation of the verse(s)
should be resolved, at least it
would in my mind, unless of course,
the interpretation were to contradict
some article of Faith.