The Almighty Has His Own Purposes

Wednesday, October 13, AD 2010

My co-blogger Paul Zummo’s post here on When God Says No caused me to think again of a theme that has alway intrigued me:  the problem of God allowing terrible things to happen to innocent people.   Endless words have been written on this subject, but I have always found moving the thought process of Abraham Lincoln as he addressed this complex subject.

The American Civil War has become such a part of American folk-lore, and so romanticized by reenactments, films, movies, etc, that we sometimes risk losing sight of just how dreadful it was.  The death toll in the war would be the equivalent of us losing some six million killed in a war today and some ten million wounded, many of those maimed for life.  One quarter of the nation was devastated, a huge war debt had to be repaid and  regional hatreds created that only time would heal.  Americans tend to be optimists and to view themselves as blessed by God.  How had this dreadful calamity come upon the nation was the cry from millions of Americans at the time.

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7 Responses to The Almighty Has His Own Purposes

  • The Civil War wasn’t the Black Death or San Francisco earthquakes.

    Just asking.

    Was slavery a greater evil than civil war?

    Did Lincoln believe he was God’s instrument in punishing America for slavery?

    Did God order Lincoln to obtain the war declaration and did God make Lincoln constantly goad his generals to butcher hundreds of thousands of troops with a war strategy of attrition?

    Plus, Doid Godf will Lincoln to wage aggressive and invasive war, and targeted Southern civilians and productive assets.

    Did God use Abe to punish America for slavery?

    My grandfather’s maternal grandfather was KIA at First Bull Run with the 69th NY Militia. Did he die as punishment for the South’s sins? PS: Most Irish soldiers were fighting for the union, for acceptance as Americans not emancipation which wasn’t proclaimed until January 1863.

  • “Was slavery a greater evil than civil war?”

    Doubtless yes to a slave.

    “Did Lincoln believe he was God’s instrument in punishing America for slavery?”

    No more than we are all instruments carrying out God’s ultimate purposes whether we wish to do so or not.

    “Did God order Lincoln to obtain the war declaration and did God make Lincoln constantly goad his generals to butcher hundreds of thousands of troops with a war strategy of attrition?”

    In regard to the war T.Shaw, the coming of it was overwhelmingly popular both North and South. Lincoln was one of the few, Jefferson Davis was in this company, who thought initially that the war was likely to be long and bloody.

    In regard to a strategy of attrition, that was the fallback strategy of Grant when it became obvious that Lee could not be defeated in a war of manuevere during the Overland Campaign of 1864. Hundreds of thousands of troops slaughtered is mere hyperbole by you. Casualties, including wounded during the campaign, were around 60,000, and they put the war on the path of being won. Sherman at the same time usually relied on manuevere, and had relatively few casualties. Lincoln had no hand in the tactics and strategies used by either of the two generals who won the war for the Union .

    “Plus, Did God will Lincoln to wage aggressive and invasive war, and targeted Southern civilians and productive assets.”

    It was not an invasive war T Shaw, it was all one country. Attacking civilian assets that could be utilized by the military was common on both sides.

    “Did God use Abe to punish America for slavery?”

    I believe that God used the entire nation to punish America for the evil of slavery.

    “Did he die as punishment for the South’s sins?”

    Actually for the sins of both North and South regarding slavery in my view.

  • More importantly, our Blessed Mother is interceding for 33 Chilean miners and causing them to be safely removed from the bowels of the Earth.

    The first man I saw this morning come into the light blessed himself.

    Praise the Lord!

    Anyhow, you and I are on different wave-lenghts – same radio.

    My neighbor lost a young son to cancer many years ago. He is still wrestling with that, which is more germane to the subject (suffering) than Illinoisers’ war of northern aggression.

  • “Most Irish soldiers were fighting for the union, for acceptance as Americans not emancipation which wasn’t proclaimed until January 1863.”

    Mr Shaw, I’m quite sure that you do not speak on behalf of “most Irish soldiers” who fought and died in the Civil War. And if indeed they were fighting for acceptance “as Americans,” which they most certainly did receive, then I’m not sure they would appreciate you referring to their resting souls, 150 years later, as “Irish soldiers.”

    After all, the doors to Ireland are still open, no? Send a postcard.

  • Linus, Thanks for your help.

  • Donald – When you have time will you please contact me at (jschmidt at lexpharma dot com)? You’ll recall that I have posted a few comments here about our shared interest in the Civil War and Catholic military chaplains. My book, “Notre Dame in the Civil War: Marching Onward to Victory” (The History Press) will be in print in about 5-6 weeks and I would be most pleased to send you a copy for review. I can hardly think of a more suited reader! All My best, Jim Schmidt

  • E-mail sent Jim, and I am looking forward to reading it!