Q & A

Where is God when bad things happen?

As the initial numbness of shock and disbelief subsides following the terroristic attacks in our nation’s Northeast, our minds and hearts struggle with a larger question. “Where is God?” we ask, “and how does a God of love and power allow such horrors to happen?” Part of the answer lies in three truths about our world, all found in Genesis chapter 3.

1. We Live in a Free World

When God created humans, he gave them the power of choice. People are not robots programmed always to do good. God’s outgoing love seeks a loving response, not one compelled by necessity. The Creator allows his human creature to obey him or to disobey. Such freedom is risky. It means that people might choose evil instead of good. But without such choice, human beings would be something other than the human beings God actually made. That is the meaning, in Hebrew idiom, of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

2. We Live in a Fallen World

When Adam sinned, he unleashed moral chaos into God’s orderly creation. Not only did Adam fall from innocence, all of his descendants fell with him. Allowed to choose, we tend to choose evil, for we are born with a fallen nature. Even redeemed people, gifted with the Spirit of God, sometimes resist God’s Spirit and do what is evil. Little wonder that unredeemed people, tempted by Satan, surrounded by evil and unrestrained by God’s moral law in revelation or in conscience, perform hideous acts of violence and destruction. The Fall affected the very planet itself, as symbolised by briars and thorns. This fallen earth and its inhabitants are not presently suited to continue forever. That is the meaning of the cherubim with flaming sword, guarding the way to the Tree of Life.

3. We Live in an Unfinished World

We cannot know God fully based on events within this earth’s space and time. True, God has revealed his nature and his final intent in the death, resurrection and ascension of his Son, Jesus Christ. But he has not yet brought that purpose to its visible conclusion and end. That day will come when time and eternity intersect. Then we will see, with all the watching universe, the ultimate heart of God and his eternal purpose. God will call every rebellious sinner into judgement and destroy evil forever. For those who trusted God, there await glorified and immortal bodies. For them, there are coming new heavens and a new earth, filled with righteousness and the unhindered glory of God. God’s love and power will have the final word. That is the meaning of the promise that Eve’s descendant will bruise the serpent’s head.

© 2001 Edward Fudge (gracEmail)