The Lower Lights> Nov 2001|
Alan Jones, Editor
"Brightly beams our
From the lighthouse
But to us He gives the
Of the light along the
Published monthly by the church of Christ, 35900 Palmer Road, P.O. Box
86-233, Westland, MI 48166
September 11. If there is a God, why? Why the sudden tragic end of
thousands of innocent lives in Pennsylvania, New York City, and Washington
D.C.? Nearly the whole world has condemned the actions of the terrorists
and the war against them has been labeled a war that is "Good vs. Evil".
When we think of
God, words such as "Almighty" (All- Powerful) and "Sovereign" (Ruling with
Supreme Authority) come to mind. When such horrific evil is seen such as
on September 11, unbelievers may become more rooted in their unbelief and
believers may be filled with doubts, both asking, "If there is a God, why
do such evil things happen? Why would He not exert His Power and Authority
to prevent them? However the tragedies of September 11 have affected your
thoughts of God, won't you examine the Bible answer to this important
First, we need to
reword our question, to broaden its scope to include all who do "evil" in
the sight of God. Paul wrote, "For all have sinned and fall short of the
glory of God" (Rom 3:23). All men have broken the law of God, some men
more than others and some with more damaging consequences to their fellow
man. Nevertheless, all men are contributors to a world of moral evil.
should not be made to wonder about the control of God only in the face of
horrific crimes. The question should not be, "Why does God allow a few
terrorists to go on a killing rampage, but why is all mankind allowed to
do evil if God exists? I must look in the mirror and ask, "Why am I
al-lowed to do evil, if God exists?" "Where is God's control over me?"
The answer is found in God's creation of man. When God placed Adam and Eve
in the Garden of Eden, He told them they could eat of every tree but one,
the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen 2:15-17). We conclude that God
made man a creature of choice. He did not make man a computerized robot,
programmed to do his will. Had He done so, man would not have been able to
do evil, but would have lived totally righteous under God's total control.
But, by the way God made man, He chose to give up some "control" and so
evil became a possibility.
God has placed man
in a "controlled struggle" to see whether or not he will choose to obey
Him. Though God Himself does not tempt man (Jas 1:13), He allows Satan to
tempt man (Gen 3:1-5), and has given Satan three avenues by which to lure
man; the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 Jn 2:15-17). God has made men vulnerable, susceptible to sin, creatures
that will sin unless they fight against temptation.
However, God is in charge and regulates the process. Satan must have God's
permission to tempt (Lk 22:31-32) and God controls the extent of the
temptation so that man is not tempted above what he can bear (1 Cor
10:13). Thus, man is not forced to sin and cannot blame God, but only
himself if he does sin (Jas 1:13-15). So, the horrendous acts of September
11 and all other sins are the result of man's lack of control and not
God's and do not cast doubts on His Power and His Authority...
(Continued on next page)
IF THERE IS A GOD, WHY?: CONTROL THROUGH
...Though God has allowed man to sin, He has maintained control over him
through accountability. All the terrorists connected with September 11 may
never be brought by man to justice, but one day, each one of them, as each
man who has ever lived, must "give account of himself to God", and be
"recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done,
whether good or bad." (Rom 14:12; 2 Cor 5:10)
Adam and Eve were
allowed to rebel against God's commandments, but they paid dearly (Gen
3:16-19, 22-24). God did not stand in the way of Cain killing Abel, but
Cain suffered the consequences of his sin the rest of his life (Gen
4:10-12). When the world became evil, God brought the Flood (Gen 6:5-7),
fully separating the good from the evil.
However, after the
Flood, God promised that while the earth remained, He would not interrupt
the natural order of things again by a worldwide judgment (Gen 8:20-22).
However, since the Flood, God has intervened to punish individuals (e.g. Nadab and Abihu- Lev 10:1-3), cities (e.g. Sodom and Gomorrah- Gen
19:23-28), and nations (e.g. Babylon- Isa 13).
judgment has not always been immediate. So man has wondered if God is in
control. Does He see what is going on and, if so, is He going to do
anything about it? God's reply has been that He will arise from His "short
nap" and destroy the sinner (Ps 73, esp vs. 17-20). He has a "book of
remembrance" and He will distinguish between the wicked and the righteous
As a farmer lets the wheat and the weeds grow together until harvest and
then separates them, so God allows the wicked and the righteous to live in
this world together until His appointed time of judgment. Then the
righteous will receive eternal blessings, while the wicked will be sent to
eternal torment (Mt 13:24-30, 36-43). The judgments which God has already
sent should more than convince us that all men are accountable and on that
great Judgment Day will face the consequences of their actions (see 2 Pet
2:3-9, Jude 5-7).
God planned before
He made the world to have sons who would choose to be conformed to the
image of His Son. These would not be righteous by their own actions, as
they, as all men, would do evil. But, they would accept the call of the
gospel and be justified (counted "righteous") by the blood of His Son.
They would choose to become sons of God and grow to become like His Son,
that by His grace, mercy, and love, they might be glorified rather than
condemned at the Day of Judgment (Rom 8:29,30). These sons of God would be
to the "praise of His glory" (Eph 1:12,14). This could not be said
of them if God had made them robots with no choice between good and evil
and no struggle to do good, rather than evil.
In the face
of the evil of September 11, and in the face of our own evil, let us lay
aside all skepticism and doubt. God exists. He is Almighty. He is
Sovereign. He is Just. The terrorists will give account to Him. So will
we. Are we His sons? Are we living to His praise or to our condemnation?
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