Here is a question I received anonymously. This may be the most frequently asked question to us as believers from nonbelievers. 1 Peter says: “always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” We are mandated to be PREPARED for the TOUGH QUESTIONS. That being said…I certainly do not have all of the answers but I wanted to share with you my thoughts on this tough subject…ready…go.
p.s. —— these are tough truths to handle…just sayin’
I’m a teenager and I go to a public high school, so I am constantly being taught things in school that sometimes collide with what the bible says. Also, I’m around many people who deny God’s existence. A few days ago, a conversation in my class came up about natural disasters and things that have occured in the past that have lead the to the death of millions of people and other global issues and someone in my class who was a non-believer said that if there were a God, he would have never let such things happen to the earth and innocent people. I know that God exists, and I know that He has a plan for all of us, plans to prosperous us and not harm us, but sometimes I just don’t understand why world tragedies happen. Why are innocent children hurting every day? Why are people suffering from poverty and natural disasters? I believe, but sometimes I just don’t understand things like this. Why do you believe that such tragedies occur to innocent people?
There are a couple of HUGE assumptions that are being made in these questions. In those assumptions lie the problem with the statement of your non-believing classmate: “if there were a God, he would have never let such things happen to the earth and innocent people.”
Assumption number one: innocent people
There are no innocent people. There are certainly people who are MORE evil than others and purposefully do harm and inflict pain but NO ONE is innocent. “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Because of that sin, evil has entered the world and has set it on a downward and destructive path ever since its conception. Therefore, we ought not be surprised at ALL at these natural disasters that occur as our world falls apart because of the sin we have introduced.
Let me ask the question that is inevitably on your mind now. “Ok, so people may not be perfect but that doesn’t mean they deserve what happens to them all the time; tsunamis, hurricanes, murder etc.” Who is to say what we deserve and what we do not?? God and God alone. And He has already stated what we deserve in His word…we deserve death. Anything less than that is mercy. Praise God for His mercy. And the question that follows that, “is it fair that some have to deal with more harsh realities than others??” Answer…no. Bottom line…God is not fair. He never claimed to be and most honestly…you and I do NOT want Him to be. As mentioned, FAIRly speaking, we all deserve nothing more than death.
Assumption number two (the BIG BIG BIG one that SOOOO many make…including Christians—-a LOT): that God’s number one concern is ANYTHING BUT His own glory
When your classmate made this statement, “if there were a God, he would have never let such things happen to the earth and innocent people”, he was assuming that God’s number one priority was to protect the earth and innocent people. Otherwise, he would have no problem with things the way they are. Let me throw out an over-the-top comparison to make it clear. Your classmate would probably not say, “if there were a God, he would never let so many cars be painted yellow.” That sounds crazy right?? It only sounds crazy because it is clear to everyone that the existence of God is not based on His ability to keep yellow cars from being made because we do not think, generally, that His purpose is to forbid them. However, for some reason (not Scripturally based) our culture has made the assumption that His purpose is to keep bad things from happening and protect people. That is just as false as the yellow car thing. God makes it VERY clear in His word that He is about Himself. He is about His glory and His purpose and the purpose of everyone and everything He created is to declare His glory.
Therefore, if you look at these disasters and evil things that happen as something that God allows because: 1) our sin has brought the evil into the perfect world He created and 2) He uses those things to bring glory to Himself, there is no reason to question His existence in any tragedy. As a matter of fact, His existence is all the more evident as you look at them.
It has never been, it isn’t and it will never be about us. This world and the next are about the God who started it all. We simply play our part.
"Dear friends, do NOT be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering as though something strange were happening to you…"
- 1 Peter
Peace and Love