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Cause And Effect

CHAPTER 2

When your world comes apart, look to see how you did it.

Thought: Nothing ever just happens; every effect has its cause.

Word: Proverbs 26:27: "If a man digs a pit, he will fall into it: if a man rolls a stone, it will roll back on him."

Conclusion: Effects have always had their causes.

We have seen that the universe is controlled by laws, both physical and spiritual. When we interact with any of these laws, we set in motion a chain of cause and effect. Some would hope we could have causes without effects, but law doesn't work in that way. Because it is law, cause and effect are completely dependable. It is not arbitrariness on God's part that He always allows the same effect for the same cause. If the laws in our universe and world are indeed laws, then the effects caused by either keeping or breaking them must always be the same. If you break the law of gravity and jump off the World Trade Center in New York without a parachute, you will suffer the effect of the action. If you do it ten times (not that you could live that long, but...), you would have exactly the same thing happen to you each time; you would crash, painfully or fatally into the sidewalk.

If there is consistency in universal law, then for every effect there must be a cause. If you press on the brake pedal in your car, you expect it to function. If you turn the steering wheel, you fully expect that your car will turn. If the laws of physics that control these actions were arbitrary, you would be in a real fix if you needed your brakes desperately, and, at that moment, they decided not to work because they were operating arbitrarily. If your brakes do stop working, you know there is a cause, and you either repair them yourself or take your car to a mechanic. When you go into your house and turn on the light switch, you plan for there to be light. If there isn't, you know there is a cause, perhaps a burnt-out bulb, an open circuit breaker, or maybe even a power outage in your area; whatever the cause, there is a cause. Everything that happens to you, every minute of every day, is the effect of a cause. If you smoke, it is the effect of lighting a cigarette and putting it in your mouth (the cause), and if you continue to smoke (the cause), you may contract any number of various diseases (the effect). Notice we said "might" cause a disease. Are we saying that the effect might be arbitrary? In fact, the opposite is true. Given two persons with the exact same physiology and life styles, smoking, say, ten packs of cigarettes a day; they will both have the exact same problems in later life. The cause and effect is perfect, the differences are in our bodies. Two causes, precisely the same, will produce two effects precisely the same.

If cause and effect are always perfectly dependable, why do we deny them in our lives? We use such inventions as "luck," "fate" and "probability" to explain events that we cannot, or do not want to, explain via a cause. If your tire goes flat as you are in the service station, you say, "It was luck, I guess," when, in fact, the tire went flat and that's it. The tire went flat exactly where it should have gone flat.

Some people have thought that God is arbitrary in His use of cause and effect. Here is one passage that is sometimes cited: "If you will diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord your God, and will do that which is right in his sight, and will listen to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon you, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that heals you." Ex. 15:26.

Is God being arbitrary here? Is He saying that His friends will be treated well and His enemies will be treated badly just because they are friends or enemies? Why do we continue to burden God with the things we would do ourselves? This text is a perfect example of cause and effect. God gave the Israelites rather extensive health laws and regulations. Personal hygiene had been mostly forgotten. If they did follow the commandments, they wouldn't receive the diseases that the Egyptians were getting through filth and poor health habits. This statement of God is just the opposite of arbitrary. Our health is still dependent on keeping the commandments. The flourishing health industry is evidence of commandment breaking on a mass scale. Among others, the effect of keeping the commandments is good health; it was true then, it is true now, and it will always be true.

If we know the laws, we may use the principles of cause and effect to our advantage. Often we allow Satan to convince us that the effects aren't really what the law says they will be. We are allowing him to convince us of a lie. If we place our faith in Satan instead of God, we will reap the effect of that cause too. Satan's actions started in this world by telling a lie. If our faith is in him, we are accepting lies instead of truths.

The universe is, in effect, as the giant body of God. Just as our bodies give us problems if we violate certain laws, God is also hurt by our breaking His laws. Sin is like a disease in His body.

Man's salvation is also a function of cause and effect. God's character is on trial before the universe. If He, at any time, allowed a person to be saved outside of the process of law and cause and effect, He would be convicted of injustices in that universal trial. If God's character of life is to be found just, then He cannot ever play favorites; He cannot ever change the requirements of salvation. The laws of cause and effect that act on man's redemption are non-negotiable.

Just as salvation is cause and effect, so is destruction. Both the small destructions we see here and the grand destruction in the future when Satan and all who are not saved will be destroyed, are results of specific causes. Satan will attempt to persuade you that this is not the effect of breaking God's laws, but it is.

The great controversy in the universe, then, is whether man can be in harmony with God while going against the law which is a description of who He is. In nature everything works within the bounds of law and cause and effect relationships. A man can no more enjoy a salvation experience while being antagonistic to law than the sun can shine without light. It is God's desire that we experience salvation and freedom from our slavery, but this only happens as we align ourselves with who He is. Salvation is the effect of that cause. Solomon writes of this righteousness: "The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them. Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivers from death. The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way: but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness. The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them: but transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness. When a wicked man dies, his expectation shall perish; and the hope of unjust men perishes. The righteous is delivered out of trouble, and the wicked comes in his stead. An hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor; but through knowledge shall the just be delivered. When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices, and when the wicked perish there is shouting." Prov. 11:3-10.

While the effect of perfect obedience to God's law is salvation, it is not merely something we do; it is something we are. Jeremiah, a prophet, described the ability to do perfection this way: "In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS." Jer. 23:6.

Perfection does not come from a man going about trying to do everything right. It is the result of a man allowing his mind to be the divine mind and bringing himself into harmony with divinity by integrating the truth of law into himself with the power God provides.

Man is always given a choice: either he can observe and harmonize with the laws of cause and effect, or he can move against them. If he does this, he will still be under the cause-effect system, for there is no escaping it. To harmonize with divine will, will effect perfection and salvation. To harmonize with Satan's lies, will effect perfect disobedience and destruction.

Let us take a look at actual causes versus apparent causes. In Genesis 19 we can read of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The Bible says that God sent destruction on that city. Reading it, we may be tempted to think that there was some kind of magic fire that did it and that the people actually had no cause about it. The flood is another example of magic that we imagine was done to cause the earth to flood. Yet, if scientists could stand and watch the disaster as it unfolded, they would be able to explain it all quite naturally. Yes, universal power was unleashed at the time of these disasters and the people were the ones who created the "place" for it to happen. People do disasters and people are the causative agents of all their dilemmas. The destruction of Pompeii by a volcano was a sin problem, not a volcano problem. The destruction of San Francisco by earthquake in 1906 was a sin problem, not an earthquake fault problem. As in disease, germs don't cause it. People set up conditions for germs to do their work and so it is with natural disasters that are not caused by faults or storms, but the condition of the people's hearts.

How does all this work in the circumstances of an auto accident? Let us say a man comes to an intersection and he puts his foot on the brake and the brake fails, causing him to slam into another car. The apparent cause was that the brakes failed. The actual cause may have been impatience, hatred, anger, or a host of other causative factors. The universe is set up to give us what we want. If we want disaster and storm, all we need to do is set up our mental condition and belief system to receive those things.

As we grow in the knowledge of God, we may ignorantly bring on some of these unpleasant things. They are designed in the love of God to bring us into harmony with His will. If we refuse to be brought into harmony, the resistance we generate will bring on something a little more persuasive. If we still refuse to look at our cause in it and the universe can bring us nothing to heal, then finally, death may be the result. All things considered, we must accept the word of God as being what is true. "Whatsoever ye sow, so shall ye also reap." That is true always, not just some of the time. That includes earthquakes, fires, tornadoes and "accidents."

Cause And Effect

The Job Experience—Bible Study

1. What was Job's experience before crisis?

Job 1:8-10: "And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made a hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land."

2. What was Job's belief?

Job 2:10: "...What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?"

3. After Job's crisis, what was revealed that he feared?

Job 3:25: "For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me."

4. Job believed that he would lose what he had and he believed that evil comes from God, so, what happened?

Job 2:7: "So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown." In chapter one he loses his goods.

5. Job believed there must be a cause, so he asks to know it.

Job 6:24: "Teach me, and I will hold my tongue; and cause me to understand wherein I have erred."

6. Finally, what did God reveal to him?

Job 38:1-4: "Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man, for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?"

7. Job had said in Job 9:17 that he was hurt without cause; God was unfair.

"For he breaketh me with a tempest, and multiplieth my wounds without cause."

8. God spoke for His fairness and confronted Job with it.

Job 40:7-8: "Gird up thy loins now like a man; I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? Wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?"

9. After Job is instructed by God as to His greatness and fairness, Job has a new view of it. He is converted in this area of life.

Job 42:2: "I know that thou canst do everything, and that no thought can be withholden from thee." v.3: "Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge?" Therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not." v.5: "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth thee."

10. After Job sees the truth, what happens?

Job 42:10: "And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before."

Notice: no intercessory hedge.

Cause And Effect Bible Study

Pr. 26:2: "As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come."

Gal. 6:7: "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."

Pr. 26:27: "If a man digs a pit, he will fall into it: if a man rolls a stone, it will roll back on him."

Jer. 17:10: "I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings."

Mark 4:24: "Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you."

Eze. 7:27: "I will do unto them after their way, and according to their deserts will I judge them; and they shall know that I am the Lord."

Rom. 2:6: "Who will render every man according to his deeds."

Rom. 2:9-10: "Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile. But glory, honor, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first and also to the Gentile. For with God there is no respect of persons."

Ps. 107:17: "Fools, because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted."

Ps. 9:15-16: "The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made: in the net which they hid is their own foot taken. The Lord is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands."

Ps. 7:15-16: "He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made. His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate."

Eze. 33:20: "Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. O ye house of Israel, I will judge you every one after his ways."

Ps. 58:3: "The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies."

2 Cor. 5:10: "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."

Isa. 3:9-11: "The show of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves. Say ye unto the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him."

Rom: 2:9. "Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile. But glory, honor and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first and also to the Gentile."

Pr. 19:23: "The fear of the Lord tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil."


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