As a service member, it is quite understandable to question the will of God, much less the existence of God, given the witness of mankind’s inhumanity to man as seen on the battlefield and in the various third-world countries most of us have had the pleasure of visiting. The question tends to sound like this: “If God is all-loving, why does he allow such evil to occur?” This is a perfectly reasonable question. We live in a fallen world. From the time Adam chose to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, evil was brought into the world. God’s very creation had rebelled against him.
One of God’s many gifts to His creation is free will. God desires the love of His creation but that true love and affection only comes from a conscious choice, i.e. free will. He could have made us all “robots” who would obey without a thought. But would that be real love and obedience? Our gift from God of free will gives us the freedom to choose to love, obey; hate and disobey. The supreme ethic that God has given to mankind is to love and to honor the dignity of other people. God, of course, is the epitome of that type of love and the outflow of that love is to allow the freedom of human will. We are not like machines that are compelled to action. Instead, we are image bearers of God who comply to act in accordance with God’s rule. We also must remember that whether God stops or allows evil to go on, He is wise and will use whatever happens as part of His divine plan. Ultimately, it will not be until we are standing face to face before God that we will understand why God didn’t stop evil.
Notwithstanding, the question regarding the suffering of innocent people comes into the question as well. As combat veterans, we can reconcile the violence visited upon us and the violence we visit back on our enemies; we volunteered for the life we chose but it is hard for us to see the innocent victims of the exchange of violence between powers and principalities. For the question of innocent suffering, the answer is, we must recognize the error in calling anyone truly innocent. We do this according to our own standards of goodness – not God’s. God is not only completely righteous, but he is also the only one worthy of judging who is innocent and who isn’t and He has already deemed all of humanity guilty because of our sin. Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” We inherited the sinful nature of Adam; we know the right, yet do the wrong. We ALL are guilty. The only true innocent one was Jesus. There is a tendency in most to turn away from God when bad things happen to “good” people. One can read in the Old Testament all the bad things that happened to the Israelites when they turned away from God, and the way God blessed them when they turned back to Him. Maybe the reason there is so much evil in this world is because of the tendency to turn away from God when it happens. Maybe God is waiting for us to back turn to Him, not away from Him. Imagine the blessings if we all did that! Imagine if we stopped worshiping our celebrities and sports heroes and worshiped the Living God; if we stopped hating others because of a difference in political ideology and loved our neighbors as Christ commanded. Imagine if we brought prayer back into our schools and stopped blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Imagine what evil could be stamped out if we just obeyed His commandments; and imagine what blessings would come.
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