Wednesday, June 4, 2014

How can a loving God ...?

Today's edition of "Worldcrunch" has brought another barrage of tragic news, including the latest pogrom by Boko Haram in Africa, bloody battles in Eastern Ukraine and a mass grave of nearly 800 children in Ireland who had died at an orphanage between 1925 and 1961.

Someone, somewhere, is probably saying, "How can a loving God allow such things?"

It's a favorite mantra of atheists and agnostics, who want to make their case that there can't possibly be a God Who loves us, if these things happen in the world He created. Indeed, some Christians also find themselves asking that question.

It's often intended as a rhetorical question -- no answer expected. But it really isn't.

See, the tragedies in this world are not the fault of God. He created the earth and all that's in it, but He handed the responsibility for it over to humans. "Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth and subdue it," is the way Genesis 1:28 puts it. We have been given dominion -- lordship, headship, responsibility to nurture and care for the earth; we are to enjoy creation and make sure that it's replenished.

But as we also know from Genesis, we handed that authority over to Satan in exchange for a bite of fruit. And God, not being a liar or One to go back on His Word, can only stand aside, let us do what we see fit, and occasionally remind us that He's there to help whenever we ask for it. He sent His Son to show us how to re-take that authority through the Holy Spirit, but it's still up to us to exercise that authority.

In other words, don't blame God. Human atrocities are committed by humans.

Indeed, He loves us so much that He sacrificed His Son in order to restore the authority we gave away.

The more we fail to exercise that authority and follow what Jesus commanded us to do -- love one another -- the more we are responsible for the tragedies in our world.