The breaking news from Newtown, CT is heartbreaking to say the least. I literally cannot even imagine what the families, that town, the authorities, and the churches are going through. A while back we had a single-person school shooting in our city, and it was devastating to say the least. I cannot imagine being involved in such a tragedy on this level. My prayers go out to all of those involved.
How do we respond when people ask “How did our God allow this to happen?” What are some of the best Scriptures to refer them to? Can God really be both all-powerful and all-loving in such tragedies? Does this bother God when there are tragedies happening all around the world?
When answering questions like these in tough times, we must keep in mind both emotion and truth. We cannot forget what people are feeling and the answers they are wanting to hear. So how do we respond? How do we defend our great God? Not to diminish or minimize this horrific event at all, but there have been countless terrible and tragic events throughout history that have left people wondering these same types of questions. Honestly, God does not need our defending. He is Creator, and we are all His creation. But God has given us wisdom to make sense of these type situations in accordance with the truth of His Word.
We know that horrific tragedies like these involving sin and death always break the heart of God (Genesis 6:6, John 11:35, Ephesians 4:30). Then if God hates sin and is powerful enough to stop it, why doesn’t He? That is a very difficult question to answer. We see throughout Scripture that there are many sins, tragedies, and deaths that God did not stop. Yet He ended up using them and turning them somehow for the ultimate good of His will (Genesis 50:20). Does that mean that God planned this to happen in any way? of course not! God’s Word is very clear that He never even tempts anyone with sin (James 1:13). The point is, God is so holy and removed from sin that He would never tempt with sin much less cause sin to happen. But out of His grace, God can use the sin, tragedy, and death to bring about His glory and some kind of good on the earth in the overall bigger picture and scheme of things. I can’t explain that, and I don’t even pretend to understand how good might come out of this. But that is how powerful, wise, and victorious our God is!
God turned the greatest tragedy and injustice of all history to His greatest good to ever happen. No other tragedy or injustice could outdo or outweigh the historical fact that God’s own perfect sinless Son died for the sins of the whole world. That is the scandal of all scandals. But God used that unjust tragedy for His greatest good of salvation!
We must remember that all sin is authored ultimately by Satan (John 8:39-45). Sin is not just wrong doing, but it very personal. It is personal because it is doing the personal will of Satan who incites all of sin. Sin is personal because it is personally against God’s own Word. And sin is personal because sin is ultimately Satan’s strategy to get us to worship himself rather than Jesus personally.
But why does God allow sin to continue? If God did not allow sin to continue whatsoever, then He would have to discontinue us all because we all sin with our hearts, minds, mouths, bodies, etc. Would God be just to only discontinue the sin or murder, rape, etc when the sins we struggle with (hate, lust, etc.) are what leads to those bigger sins? Instead, God has a far greater plan of allowing us to see the hurt, pain, and tragedy of sin which completely reveals our desperation for Him, His gospel, His truth, His grace, His peace, and His love.
If God would have not allowed murder, then Jesus would not have been able to die for the rest of the sins of the whole world. Jesus did not just die for the sin of murder, but He paid the price that all sin deserved which was death.
Why did God allow sin in the beginning? If God had not allowed sin in the beginning, then there would be no need for Jesus. God created the angel who became Satan the deceiver. God allowed Satan to tempt and deceive Adam and Eve by brining corruption and rebellion into the world. I believe the best explanation I’ve heard as to why God allowed this is so that we could know Him fully. It would be like growing up in Hawaii. Someone who grows up and lives in Hawaii for their whole life has become numb to the beauty because it is a common scene to them. They don’t have anything else to compare it to so they see the exotic tropics as normal. But a person who grows up in the slums of inner-city Detroit who gets a transfer to Hawaii appreciates the tropical beauty on a deeper level and daily basis. What am I saying? If humanity just grows up knowing God without sin, then we don’t know Him fully because we don’t know anything else to compare Him to. So then we don’t know His incomparable holiness, majesty, glory, etc. But also, we don’t know awesome attributes of His character that are brought out by sin like His grace, mercy, forgiveness, etc. But most of all, without sin, there would be no Jesus. The name “Jesus” means to save His people from their sin. We would have Adam (Genesis 1:26-28) as the king, lord, and ruler over all the earth for eternity without death. But that would be a life without King Jesus, God’s grace, salvation, resurrection, etc. God had a far greater plan to reveal His glory by allowing sin on the scene.
My quick concluding thoughts: If you are someone heavily involved in the first-person shooter gaming world, who feels disturbed at times, who has thoughts of killing people in real life, who deals with hatred for others, and who might even be haunted or tormented with thoughts you don’t want to have…there is help! Yes, there is professional, psychological help, but also there is real, lasting help. There is Jesus! Jesus doesn’t just listen, and He doesn’t medicate. Jesus actually gives you a new heart (Jeremiah 31). Jesus gives you a new mind (Romans 12:1-2). Jesus puts His Spirit within you and gives you a new life, with a new purpose, and a new plan (Romans 8). Jesus has been murdered on your behalf, for your sin. He has endured great pain because of your struggles and weaknesses. Jesus died the death that you and I both deserve. Talk to God. Turn from your sin. Believe in Jesus’ death for your sin. Believe in Jesus’ resurrection in that He is now alive and awaiting your prayer to Him for salvation (Romans 10:9-13). Make Jesus the Lord of your life! When you do, Satan no longer has rule, reign, or dominion over you. He cannot make you think thoughts. He cannot have His way with you. Instead, the good, gracious, loving, and powerful Jesus is Lord and Master of your life (Colossians 1:15-20).
If you’re still reading this…are you someone today that needs to share that message with someone who is broken, hurting, outcast, disturbed, etc?
What are your thoughts on all this? Feel free to comment.