Berean cogitations

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Making sense out of tragedy, evil and suffering

At times like this, people often ask, "How can a loving God allow such tremendous suffering in the world?" Why did God allow the levees to break, ruining the lives and homes of thousands of innocents? Or why did God allow last year's Indian Ocean tsunami to wreak such widespread devastation. On a related note, when the 9/11 terrorists flew their hijacked planes into the World Trade Center, people asked why a loving God would allow such great acts of evil to occur.

In my own life, when I've gone through times of tremendous heartbreak and tragedy, I have found myself questioning God's love. So did Job, as he endured his trials. Even Elijah, after seeing God perform great miracles, still questioned God's purposes during a time of great trial (I Kings 19:1-14). This mighty prophet even pleaded for death, feeling that it would be preferable to the torment he was facing!

In the wake of the latest flood disaster, I wanted to say something about God's purposes in allowing great evil and suffering. Unfortunately, time won't allow me to do proper justice to this topic right now, and I don't want to sound flippant or insensitive in any way. Also, I'd very much like to say something more meaningful than "God's works in mysterious ways" -- a statement that certainly true, but rather trite and uncomforting in these trying times.

I plan to discuss this topic in an upcoming apologetics class that I'm teaching. In the meantime though, I'd like to present a list of articles on this very topic. I hope that these will be helpful to someone.