This past week the news has been full of what can only be described as depressing stories. From Robin William’s suicide, to the killing of Michael Brown and the aftermath in Ferguson, Missouri, to the ongoing genocide of Christians in the Middle East from the terrorist group know as ISIS or ISIL; we live in a hurting and broken world.
And so we are faced with the ever looming question: what kind of God would allow all of this evil and suffering to happen? What kind of God would create a world where murder, suicide, rape, and child abuse exist? I would agree with many of non-believing and/or atheist friends here that you (we) have every right to adamantly oppose any sort of God that would create such a place.
So how does a Christian respond in situations like the ones that are filling the news these days?
I once heard Tom Nelson, pastor of Denton Bible Church in Texas, and probably the first pastor I listened to via podcast or any type of media back in high school, explain it like this.
“One Frenchmen, an atheist named Vad E’Lair, put it like this: If there is a God, He is my devil…If God made man originally like He is, then God is the greatest of the practical jokers. To give man 80 years to live, and you [man] start going down physically after about 27 [years]. That your mind matures at about 60, and your body at about 17. Isn’t that terrible?
That man can have the ability from the time he starts to think to lust, to kill, to covet, and the thing that supposedly gives him the only meaning: God, he is adverse to the idea. Did God make man like this?
The Frenchman said, ‘If there is a God, and He made man, then He is my devil.’ That’s a great statement. I would say to the man that Genesis does not begin with Genesis [chapter] three and the fall of man, you’ve got Genesis [chapters] one and two and His glories. In other words, man is not as man was. Man is not as man will be. That there has been a fall in time and space, a rebellion of the first man against God.”
The reason that so many choose not to believe is the false belief that God created us like this. But he didn’t. And though sin and death have corrupted the world, the good news (quite unfathomable news actually) is that God has not left us like this.
We must understand that God did not create us like this. He did not make a world that can at times be unbearably devastating. We did. But because God loved us so much, He sent His son to become a man and for that man to atone for our sin. In a story more magnificent and beautiful than could ever be thought up, Jesus Christ died and was resurrected so that we may once again live eternally in harmony with God.
I know all of this does not make having to deal with the difficulties in life any easier, but it does show us that the horrendous evil that we see is not God’s design. And instead of leaving us to ourselves as we deserve, he came from heaven, took the punishment we deserve, and forgives all that would believe in him.
That is the kind of God I would follow.
*The great majority of this post comes from my book True Pain, True Grief, and a True God. You can receive a free downloadable copy of my book if you subscribe to my blog.