Greg Boyd has responded to John Piper’s reflections on the collapsed bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota. After summarizing what Piper wrote (which was discussed extensively on this blog), Boyd writes this about Piper: “I respect this pastor as a man of God, but this teaching honestly concerns me.” It turns out that his “concern” is an understatement. Boyd contests the entire theological foundation of Piper’s essay.
Boyd’s “concern” is not surprising, however, given that the theological differences between Piper and Boyd could not be more pronounced. Piper is a Calvinist. Boyd is an Arminian. Piper is a determinist. Boyd is an open theist. Piper believes that penal substitution is the central meaning of Christ’s atoning work. Boyd maintains that the Christus Victor view is the central meaning of Christ’s work.
That being said, I’m not at all convinced by Boyd’s argument that the Devil is ultimately responsible for tragedies in the world. For instance, his view fails to make sense of texts like the biblical book of Job. In Job, it’s very clear that Satan caused all of Job’s suffering. It’s also very clear that God controls every move Satan makesâ€”such that when Job says that “the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away” (Job 1:21), the narrator says that “in all this Job did not sin with his lips” (Job 2:10; cf. 1:22). In other words, even though Satan was at work to destroy Job’s life through a series of calamities, Job did not err when he said that the Lord was ultimately behind everything that happened to him.
Anyway, you can read the rest of Boyd’s essay here: “Why the 35W Bridge Collapsed.” But I give you fair warning. I do not think it is a faithful accounting of the Bible’s teaching on God’s relationship to His fallen creation.