Mar08 2010

Where Was God? – Part 3

This post is Part 3 in the series “Where was God?”. Click here to start with Part 1.

In my last post, I ended by asking the question that is on the minds of so many people today.  “Why does God allow so much evil in our world?  Why doesn’t He remove all of the evil and suffering in our world, right here and now?”  In answering this question, the first thing that we must ask ourselves is what, exactly, would it take for God to remove evil entirely from our world?  What would God have to do in order to eradicate every trace of evil from our midst?  I believe that there are at least two things that we must take into consideration.

First of all, we have to consider the fact that when we suggest that God should remove evil from our world, we usually have in mind  a “wish list” of all of the evils in this world that we, personally, do not like or find offensive.  The problem, of course, is that this “wish list” is something that we’ve come up with, and it always conveniently draws the cut-off line right behind ourselves!  We always want to make sure that we “make the grade”.  So, as it turns out, we expect God to “get rid of all of those pimps, drug dealers, and mass murderers”, yet expect Him to overlook the evil in our own lives.  In other words, we expect God to eliminate all of the evil that we don’t like, but overlook the evil that we do like-  the evil that we personally enjoy, embrace, participate in, revel in, and even the evil that we personally cause.

That brings me to my next point.  If God is truly going to destroy all of the evil in this world, He must necessarily destroy that which is causing it.  So, who would that leave?  No one.  A God Who is perfectly holy and just is not going to use our own flawed, inferior standard to guide Him, but rather, it must be according to His standard.  Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason makes a great point about this.  He asks the question, “If God answered your request to remove all evil by midnight tonight, where would you be at 12:01?”

So, as it turns out, it is precisely because of God’s incredible grace and mercy that He withholds His judgment for now and chooses to temporarily allow evil to exist in our world.  Ultimately, God will destroy evil, but for now He has chosen to deal with evil in His own time and in His own way – through His Son, Jesus Christ, and through the Cross.

This is, perhaps, the most important point that I will make since I began to address this topic.  In every instance of pain, suffering, sorrow, and tragedy, there is a temptation on our part to imagine that somehow God is distant, detached, uncaring, and unconcerned about human suffering.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Central to Christianity is the concept that God has not distanced Himself from us.  Instead, it tells us that the Creator of the universe committed the supreme act of humility by stepping out of His eternal Kingdom to enter into our broken world as a man, in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. This means that rather than distancing Himself from us, God chose to draw close to us by making Himself just as frail, just as weak, just as vulnerable, just as subject to pain, suffering, and sorrow as we are.  He experienced firsthand what is was like to live within the difficulties of family life, perhaps even being taunted as an “illegitimate son, being born out of wedlock”.  He knew what it was like to experience hunger, fatigue, and loneliness.  He was the victim of vicious rumors and He had His closest friends abandon Him when He needed them the most.  Eventually, He was falsely accused of trumped-up charges, underwent several trials unjustly, and was beat within an inch of His life with scourges at the hands of Roman soldiers.  Finally, He underwent the open shame and public humiliation of being crucified on a Cross, in a slow, horrifying, agonizing death.  Make no mistake, God was willing to play by the same rules that we play by.  In her book, “Creed or Chaos?”, Dorothy Sayers put the problem of evil in the proper perspective.  “For whatever reason God chose to make man as he is – limited and suffering and subject to sorrows and death – He had the honesty and the courage to take His own medicine”.

As I said, there is coming a day when God will ultimately destroy evil once and for all.  In the meantime, He wants to use us as His ambassadors, as His hands and feet to this broken, suffering world.  We are to be His agents of mercy to go to Haiti, or to any other part of the world where He can use us to comfort those who are suffering, to bind up the broken-hearted, heal the sick, feed the hungry, and be a father to the fatherless.  In so doing, we will provide the answer, in a tangible way, to those who find themselves asking the question, “Where is God in my time of need?”.

2 Responses to “Where Was God? – Part 3”

  1. Casey S. says:

    I feel that it is important, when addressing questions such as this, that we understand the notion that God's "justice" is not equal to man's idea of "fairness". All too often individuals argue the fairness of God without understanding that "fair" is a human standard. Each person is born of and into sin and therefore deserving of nothing (this throws fairness out the window). Simply put, God's standards of perfection do not make sense to the finite imperfect rationale of man.

  2. Matt says:

    t is sometimes hard to fathom that God could love us so much that he would send Jesus to suffer so much for us. As a father to even consider subjecting my son to such pain and humiliation would be unthinkable.

    Marty your posts have been great I look forward to more topics.

  • In today's world, there is a great deal of confusion when it comes to matters of truth, meaning, morality, our origin, and our destiny. The purpose of Renewed Thoughts is to bring clarity to such issues by examining them in light of a Biblical worldview, using the tools of science, philosophy, and critical thinking.