Why Van Gogh?


#1

Vincent Van Gogh once wrote his brother “Someone in our family has always been a minister of the gospel…it is my prayer and innermost desire that the spirit of my father and grandfather may also rest upon me.”

sparknotes.com/biography/van … ion3.rhtml

If there’s an all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful God in control of the universe, what leads a man like Van Gogh (a believer) to lose his mind and end his life in suicide and dispair?


#2

Hi Michael.
That’s a good question. Some here believe that being a christian will bring a life of peace and joy. I am not one of those. Jesus told us to take up our cross. Our baptism of hell-fire could well be down here. What we must remember is that Van-Gogh’s life has hardly yet begun.


#3

So was he among the elect, or the non-elect?

Was his suicide pre-ordained, or allowed (and did he die saved, or unsaved)?


#4

I don’t know Vincent’s story but, sometimes I’ve been the only sane person in a huge group of insane people and I started to struggle and wonder if it was me or every one else.
Take a look at Ignaz Semmelweis, they put him in a mental ward because he thought there were little unseen things killing people when doctors didn’t wash their hands. Turns out he was right, we now call them germs.


#5

I believe Van Gogh’s death - and all of the circumstances surrounding it - was just as predetermined and ordained by God (who we are told “declares the end from the beginning” and “works all things according to the counsel of his will”) as Jesus’ death and all the circumstances surrounding it. But I’m not sure what the proximate causes were that led Van Gogh to “lose his mind.” If he died in hopeless despair after having been “born again to a living hope” and “saved in hope” then I think we would have to conclude that, at some point in his life, his hope died or was at least overshadowed by something that rendered it practically dead. But again, I have no idea what proximate causes might have led to such an event if that is what indeed took place. The only thing of which I’m certain is that Van Gogh is going to be raised up on the last day bearing “the image of the man of heaven,” and that whatever suffering he endured will in some way contribute not only to his post-resurrection happiness but also to the happiness of others.