God, evil, and OK city
What do you say to someone (non-Christian) who asks "Why
did God allow so many innocent people to die in the
Oklahoma City Federal Building?"
But to your question...
The question below falls into the general problem of evil and suffering in the world.
The OK City tragedy is another example of innocent suffering and malicious action, on a smaller scale than the Holocaust, but nonetheless heart-ripping and emotionally challenging. And, like other tragedies, can be seen to be illustrative of some of the principles involved with this complex issue.
- God is much more of a judge (expecting the citizens to act responsibly
and morally) than a policeman (trying to PREVENT all breaches of law)
- God built us to be ever-seeking to externalize our internal
characters. As such, we are ALWAYS exhibiting behavior that is 'mixed' in
its moral character...
- God created us as a communal unit, with each action affecting others
in the community--our families, friends, selves, environment, etc--for
GOOD or ILL...whereas this affords us an incredible leverage to do good to
very large numbers of people (and be like Jesus in the process!), it also
affords us the opportunity for wholesale destruction as well...
These factors, when taken together, predict that we would have both
sweetness and atrocities in human experience, and that we should not
expect God to step in and interrupt us each time we do start to do moral
will indeed hold us accountable for this moral action, but the gap
between doing and judgment will ALWAYS exist (however
short--milliseconds or millennia--the theological problem 'still exists').
Three other points:
So, the short answer is that God built us as a morally responsible
community, and treats us that way--allowing us to live morally
significant lives (for good or ill) and judging us at the END of those lives.
- Why do we always ask "why did GOD allow...?" as opposed to "how did WE
do that?"...I always wonder about our race's tendency to 'blame shift'...
- God DOES step in at times, mostly in the life of his children, to
protect us, but this 'protection' is not from the catastrophes, sickness,
death, malicious treatment by others, or unjust suffering...There is not
an evil under the sun that some Christian, somewhere, sometime has not
experienced--even while in the most pure relationships/walks with
God...No, this protection is simply this: God guarantees that He will not
allow anything to enter our lives that is 1) more than we can handle (I
Cor 10:13) and 2) destructive of our true character that is being
developed in the image of Christ...(or counter-productive to our growth in
It may seem to make us "bitter rather than better", but God the Father
knows our education/development process/progress better than we ever could.
(We also have to keep in mind the important ingredient of time in
this--'soreness' may occur at first, but strength will eventually follow)
- Finally, we must always remember that in some way God experiences this
loss as well...both through His 100% experience of the sufferings of the
families (REAL empathy) and because of the destruction of things he
deemed 'good' back in Creation...but most of all---those acts of evil
sent Him to the Cross, where the sufferings of an eternity of eternities
was experienced by the Son of God...God experienced suffering (the
ultimate UNJUST suffering!) beyond our deepest of emotional
imaginations...So in a real sense, we can also ask "why would God allow
Himself to suffer so horribly?"...
But...He has also provided a way to escape that judgment--His Son Jesus
Christ, the Beloved of the Father...'because He loved us...'
Hope this helps...glenn
The Christian ThinkTank...[http://www.Christianthinktank.com]