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September 19, 2007

Suing God?

Senator Ernie Chambers's attempt to sue God made me laugh. (Are we really sure, Regis, this isn’t another Onionesque joke?) 

Providentially, I’ve just starting skimming a forthcoming book by Thomas Kidd, The Great Awakening: The Root of Evangelizing Christianity in Colonial America, and found a very different response to natural disaster, in this case an earthquake. 

On Sunday evening, October 29, 1727, New Englanders experienced “a terrible earthquake…followed by a long series of aftershocks,” writes Kidd. This event brought home the urgency and immediacy of the need for salvation lest an inhabitant die and be judged by God and found wanting.   

Layman Jonathan Pearson of Lynn End, Massachusetts, said of his terror, “God has by the late amazing Earth-quake Layd open my neglect before me that I see no way to escape. But by fleeing to Christ for refuge. God in that hour Set all my Sins before me.  When I was Shaking over the pit looking every moment when the earth would open her mouth and Swallow me up and then must I have been miserable for ever & for ever.” 

Sadly, fear of destruction doesn’t necessarily have staying power because of our fallen nature. Reverend Thomas Prince later wrote, “There has since been great Reason to complain of our speedy Return to our former Sins.” In a different decade, but apropos of our fallen nature, another great minister, Jonathan Edwards, said of his own inclination toward sin, "[I] returned like a dog to his vomit, and went on the ways of sin."

If their society had been as whiny and litigious as ours, maybe Pearson, instead of repenting, might have thought to sue God too.

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The coverage I read said the Nebraska senator was suing God to raise awareness of the numerous frivolous lawsuits in which "anyone can sue anyone over anything" (paraphrase). And to make a point that reform is needed, he makes his case to show the extents to which anyone can sue for anything.

Kim Moreland

Thanks for the further information, Brian, however, I'm still laughing. I'll make a prediction: the senator's audacious move won't make nary a difference.

Remember the judge who's suing the dry cleaners for millions over a pair of pants...


Oh, I'm laughing too! And unfortunately it seems the general public is content to remain complacent so I'm not such what it would actually take to shock them to action.

Sy Hoekstra

You could file a lawsuit against the general public...


Remember what happened when Christian preachers treated recent disasters in the same way?

If I'm not mistaken, they were condemned on these pages.

Regis Nicoll

Kim--won't...nary. Does that mean he WILL make a difference ;-)

Kim Moreland

Sy, I think suing the general public would have had more effect. Darn, I wish I'd thought of it.

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