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My Question: Who takes life?

Hi all, So i was sitting in on a Zoom call with a range of people from all over the world. One of the questions or comments that I should say that was mentioned by the moderator was “Satan takes life” - now my immediate answer to that was as a Christian with Jesus taking all our sins on the cross gave us eternal life so Satan could not really take life for which I was told that I was wrong. The conversation turned towards a lady who had lost her son - 31 years ago at the age of 3 months and the moderator said that his life was taken as a result of the sins of his parents and ancestors. I must say i was in a little bit of shock at this comment, and this question and teaching has bothered me for the last 24 hours. Just wanted to know your opinions, thoughts etc… God Bless.

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Hi Andrew,

I agree with you and also shocked at the moderators’ answer.

I’m reading “Where is God in a Coronavirus World”, by John Lennox where he addresses God’s part in the Coronavirus deaths. To people who say it is God’s justice due to the there sins (your moderator’s opinion), Lennox says (pg 22): “This is a very crude response that causes a lot of unnecessary hurt”. Agreed.

John Lennox states there are two evils; moral evil and natural evil, and sites Luke 13 1-5 where Jesus gives an example of each. First, Pilate speaks of Galilean used for human sacrifice (moral evil), and second, 18 died when the tower in Siloam fell on them (natural evil). In both, Jesus makes it very clear, those that died had no more sin than any other in those cities.

Per John Lennox: “The implication is that we live in a world where such things can and do happen, but their occurrence is not always directly caused by God, even though he is sovereign over all things.”

Lennox finishes by pointing out we must not miss Jesus’s final point in the last sentence, “But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” Lennox says, “…which shows us that there is more to this issue - someone being spared what befalls others does not mean that they are innocent”.

Some deaths are by God’s hand and some are not. I will add this based on Genesis 2 & 3: God gives us the freedom to choose. Our choices are made in good and evil ways and the consequences can and do result in the deaths of others. And as we know, ultimately, in death, faith plays the role of the constant at the highest level.

Your thoughts would be valued and welcomed.

Paul D. NJ, USA

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I will just say that Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Which makes me think there may be something to the idea that Satan takes life.

And, absolutely not. Curses are no longer passed and visited onto future generations. Please see John 9:1-5.

Perhaps @Interested_in_Bible may have some more in-depth answers.

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Joshua
I agree. God gives and takes away as in the book of Job. As children of God and followers of Jesus, Satan’s does not have domain over us.

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Hey @AndrewManokaran the question that came to my mind on reading your post was ‘who gives life?’
The giver should be the taker. However the giver may permit the ‘gift’ to be taken by another depending on a wide range of situation and circumstances.
I hope this makes sense and is as helpful as it can be.
PS I am new here and just trying to get a hang of things.

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Interesting question @AndrewManokaran!

I guess I’d like to know a bit more about how the moderator meant his original statement that Satan takes life. It is true that the devil was a murderer from the beginning - John 8:44. When he tempted Adam and Eve into sin, that did bring death upon the entire human race. And Cain slew his brother because he was of that wicked one - meaning the devil - I John 3:12.

But you were absolutely correct in saying that our eternal life is beyond the devil’s reach - I John 5:18, he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. So I’m surprised that the moderator disputed that. (But, I suppose there are “moderators”, and then there are moderators!)

As for a lady losing her child because of the sins of parents - @Joshua_Hansen is correct - his reference to John 9:1-5 clearly shows that no one can make such an assumption.

And ultimately, as @jjsiwinski notes, whatever agent is used in our deaths, God is the final Authority on when our time on earth is finished.

I would not worry too much about what sounds like incomplete conclusions from people in your discussion.

I hope this helps.

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@AndrewManokaran
Hi Andrew,
If I may also toss some info into the mix of your question.
As I read your question I think your are describing an idea called Generational Curses or Generational Sin. It is falsely taught in some Christian circles. The idea has its roots in the idea that demons follow people or families and have power over them unless a certain prayer ritual is performed over them. It also brings into the mix that peoples words are containers of force, and as such our words have actual power in them to change reality. Which is different than the power to insult or encourage someone and how that may effect someone.
I think scripture is clear that consequences, not curses are passed on thorough the generations. I think it is in this sense that Exodus 20:5 tells us that children are punished for the sins of their fathers to the third and forth generation.
Scripture tells us explicitly in Ezekiel 18:20 that the son will not share the guilt of the father nor will the father share the guilt of the son.
There was also an ancient proverb quoted in Israel, Ezekiel 18:2 “the fathers eat sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge” God response quite emphatically in verse 3 and 4; As surely as I live, declares the Lord, you will no longer quote this proverb in Israel…The soul that sins is the one who will die.
If I may also add that it is through Jesus that the Christian faith offers real hope to those that have lost young ones and I don’t say this without pain of experience as we too have recently lost a grandchild. Our hope should fully rest upon Jesus and He has demonstrated that there is life beyond this life for those that trust in him. An infinite eternity is a long time to experience life together after our time here is complete.

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Hi Joshua, thank you for your response. The quote that you have made refers to the Gospel of John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” I do not believe that the “thief” equals Satan. If you read from verse 7 onwards…
“So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” So when he is talking about thieves he is not talking about Satan but the leaders of Israel.

That is my understanding anyway.

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Andrew, this is a good question, and it’s not an easy one.

For the part of sins being passed down or not being passed down from generation to generation I would recommend looking at all of Ezekiel 18.

The “sour grapes and set teeth” in the beginning of chapter 18 is talking about the 2nd+ generation suffering for what their parents/ancestors had done. God strongly rebukes Israel because they were using this as an excuse for their sinning, and He says this is NOT true and they cannot use this as an excuse, as the fathers sins are NOT passed down from one generation to the next.

Eze 18:19-20 specifically deals with this:

Eze 18:19 "Yet you ask, ‘Why does the son not share the guilt of his father?’ Since the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live.
Eze 18:20 The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.

The above passage by the way is one that some Muslims use to say that the Bible says that there is no original sin. Context of the passage and other parts of Ezekiel reveal otherwise.

Someone might argue and say that God put a curse on sinners to their 3rd and 4th generations. But if you read verse 5 below of exo 20 you can clearly see that the children hate God, possibly because of them being brought up by rebellious sinful parents and they are stuck in their parents ways, and in that He will punish the children to the 3rd and 4the generation, because they choose to live in sin and hate God. Verse 6 of Exo 20 below shows that God loves those who are obedient to Him. So the punishment is clearly for those practicing sin, and those who love Him and obey Him, He loves and does not punish.

Exo 20:5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,
Exo 20:6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Christ overcame every type of evil and it’s affects in any person who has Him in their lives, destroying power and principalities- Col 2:15.
So to say that generational curses exist etc. in believers is to say that Christ’s power cannot rule and is not complete in that persons life, which is a fallacy.

Now there is something to be said for genetic traits like alcoholism and others being passed down in generations, but that is genetic traits and not spiritual powers, and they can ultimately be changed and overcome in the very next generation.

I think there is a lot of scripture to support many different types of explanations for how people die, including God taking life as a result of His people sinning (1 Jn 5:15-16, 1 Cor 11:30) and we see even King David’s son is struck by God as a result of David’s adulterous affair. We might say that is terrible, how can God do that? But if the child was obviously United with God (Verse 23) and far better off than being here in earth He was in a better place. God struck David’s heart and punished him for his sin by using his son to punish David. However David’s sins were not passed onto his son, meaning his son was not filled with sin that wasn’t his, nor was he more predisposed to sinning because David’s sin overflow into him.

We see how God uses disaster to touch mans flesh that they may turn to Him. This is an act of mercy. Isaiah 26:9.

How He takes a believer out of this world as an act of mercy- Isaiah 57:1.

Angels can kill - 2 Kings 19:35

I think the above and everything in between explains how people die. God can take people intentionally and specifically for whatever reason He chooses within His sovereign will.

But to John Lennox’ point, I think we need to be very careful to thinking or telling people that bad things are happening to them or the world because of sin (ultimately any bad in this world is as a result of sin from the fall). That may or may not be true at certain times, and we can use scripture to support how He can deliver justice on a global scale if He wishes. But we cannot know when He is taking someone very specifically for sin in their life, or when even a bad person died because of some natural event, and it’s not for us to try and assert when God is or is not doing it. This turns God into some kind of a cosmic karma agent, which He’s not. Ultimately He is just, and all loving, and those two merge at the Cross of Christ. Whoever has the Cross has undeserved favor and their sins are paid for, and those who do not have the Cross will pay for their sins, either way, justice will prevail with God and sin must be paid for.

I think the context of John 10:10 where satan (the thief) comes to steal, kill and destroy is talking about satans very real and destructive power, and those who worship him (Love the world) and not God, are being stolen, destroyed and killed because they choose destruction and not God (eternal life).

I don’t think that means satan is primarily the one taking human lives per se. If God allows him to, he can. But God is ultimately sovereign over every aspect of life and sustains all of life (Hebrews 1:3), and no life can be taken without Him allowing it to be taken, with which ever means/agent He allows.

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@AndrewManokaran Hi!

Just to echo what others have already said about God being ultimately sovereign over life and death, here are a couple of Scriptures that come to mind.

1 Samuel 2:6
King James Version
6 The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.

Deuteronomy 32:39
King James Version
39 See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.

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Thank you for taking the time to respond. Having thought about this for a few days now and having had a number of conversations with people, my first instincts told me that whoever gives me life will ultimately take my life (my physical life). However when I kept thinking about it, I kept thinking to myself, the thoughts that came to me was the Jesus died on the cross for me and took my sins so that I could have eternal life - though i die a physical death through this physical death i receive eternal life.

Do not worry about being new here, I am here 2 days and have learnt so much. People on connect are awesome.

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Thank you James. God Bless.

Thank you David for taking the time to contribute . Awesome read

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@AndrewManokaran. I wonder if the Moderator was thinking about such biblical examples as in the death of King David and Bathsheba’s first child. Or perhaps their reasoning is taken from Exodus 34:7 Kjv. But your question reminded me of a common comedic line used to explain anything he did wrong, by the comedian Flip Wilson. “The devil made me do it!”

Free will means we get to choose the path our feet take. Satan may afflict us, but if we submit ourselves to GOD and resist the devil, scripture says he will flee. James 4:7 Kjv. Perhaps they were referencing the consequences we inherit from our behavior. I can only imagine. But that’s too convenient and simplistic to be accurate. No longer will it be said; The fathers have eaten sour grapes and the children’s teeth are set on edge. Jeremiah 31:29-34 Kjv.

Whenever I hear or experience the death of a child; I am compelled to remember along with my tears, the child has received the blessing and promises we all long for. Just sooner than we expected. Its a Flip Willson sketch to decide that a child has been cursed by their parent’s behavior. And cruel to the heart of a grieving parent.

Psalms 103 assures us that we are not held accountable for all the ways we transgress against GOD. GOD knows who and what He is working with. He understands our frailty. His grace is that of a Father for His children.

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Hi Joshua
I would like to elaborate a little on what you shared.
As you rightly said, as per John 9: 1-5, Curses have stopped becoming generational with the incarnation of Jesus into this world.

  • But the curse of sin, which is by birth, is still there and that’s why we are baptized to become dead to sin, following the example of Jesus in the hands of John the Baptist.
  • Any component of sin/ iniquity/ transgression that is found in us is the part & parcel of our adversary the devil. With that being his claim, the devil will surely try to gain access to our inner man, to steal our soul, to kill it that it may become lifeless i.e an hardened heart and then destroy it i.e, taking it to the wrong eternity, the hell.
  • Moreover we human are targets of two most powerful but invisible kingdoms, Heaven and Hell. Both wants us onboard their respective teams. Both are fighting it out! God has given us the privilege to choose. Now its in our hands to decide which side we lean.
  • Moreover satan cannot take revenge on God for being overthrown from his glorious post for his greedy quest, but can target God’s people, because he knows our vulnerabilities. Examples being our sins in any form, transgressions, carnal mindedness, etc.
  • These are holes/gates by which the devil can enter our life exactly like a thief does, secretly creeping into our lives and does what he does steal, kill & destroy.
  • So the only way that we can refrain the stealer, the killer, the destroyer not to enter our lives is to put on the whole armour of God and seek for His grace and mercies as Daniel did it in chapter 9 verse 2 to 20.
    God bless your ministries and the family of RZIM
    For & In Christ
    John Solomon

Hi Andrew,
Your question reminds me of a Twitter post by a pastor Steve Cioccolanti. He had up a picture of a china cabinet full of ceramic bowls stacked uspide down, one atop another, way too high. The round, slippery bottoms of the bowls made the stack unsteady. The whole lot had shifted over to where the uppermost bowl of the stack was leaning against the glass door of the cabinet. You could clearly see the bowls were going to fall out and come crashing down once the cabinet was opened. Steve Cioccolanti likened it to the bowls of God’s wrath in Revelation. God does not enjoy hurting people. He is, however, in charge of the timing of some such events. It’s going to happen some times here in this world full of sadness. As for ancestors, well, what happens often enough is two tribes go to war, then years later they make peace, intermarry, have children, grandchilren, etc. God could bring consequences on them for their ancestors’ sins, but then what would become of the peace their descendants have made, however meager it might be in the light of God’s complete goodness? My uncle died last year, from terminal cancer. I had ahold of him when they took him off the ventilator. He was awake. I still feel like I should have stepped back and kept my distance respectfully with the rest of the family. His wife was right there holding his hand. That should have been clue enough for me to get back and keep out of the way. He had just been a part of all our lives and I didn’t want him to go and leave us all behind. I should have just been glad for his sake that his suffering was over, and offered quiet assurance to the rest of the family. Instead I went a little ballistic. Not angry, but inappropriately giddy in the midst of sadness. Even though for a moment I was desperate to have him stay, it was his time, I guess. His body was worn out. I kept asking people irrelevant questions. Later I was given a dream where he had entered a garden, not like an earthly garden where everything falls down. There in the garden, everything and everyone floated peacefully, unburdened. He passed through a door, young, healthy, and joyful, into a full crowd gathered around a bright light. Then the door closed.

I would like to comment on your post because you brought up Job. The beginning of Job, God allows Satan to tempt Job. He also states that satan walks to and fro on the earth. So I think Satan through temptation can get people to do evil that can cause death using the free will aspect. But I could be wrong.

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Dear Andrew,

I saw your post yesterday. How it must grieve the Heart of the Father to hear Christians attribute more power to Satan than to Himself! But more, that some teach that Satan can take life. Where is our faith? My God is the Alpha and the Omega, Who creates life, and the taker, that is, He takes each individual to Himself. Our lives are in His Hands.

That little child: perhaps Jesus loved that child so much and wanted to protect it from the ravages of this world, so He took the child to Himself. The mother will see her child again, as David said, …can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me. 2 Sam. 12:23 (referring to his child that died after it was born).

And I agree with John Siwinski, that there is always hope. God is love, and in Him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5). His love stretches from Eternity to Eternity and beyond. We don’t understand His workings, but they are always for good. (Rom.8:28)

God bless,
Pat Sosich

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I certainly see your point, and there is some merit in that assessment. I wonder how your reading this passage would account for Ephesians 6:12 and the interplay between the authorities both spiritual and natural.

This is common rendering of that Scripture. Job makes this claim, but later in the book we see God challenge and ultimately change his theology. God does not come in Job and affirm his understanding, and tells him that he is wrong. I would be a bit cautious in what parts of Job are quoted.