For some reason, in the last couple of weeks, I have heard Larry King ask the same question about God. Here is how he phrased it on Twitter:
If God is omnipotent why do tragedies like earthquakes and hurricanes happen? No religious leader has ever been able to answer that for me.
I’m sure this statement is not actually true. He asks religious leaders this question all the time, I’ve yet to hear one who didn’t answer the question!
I think what Mr. King means is that he’s not been satisfied with any of the answers, which is completely different.
What Mr. King fails to realize is that faith leaves us with tension. It leaves us with unresolved issues. Faith is a fight. If everything made sense, if all questions were answered, then you wouldn’t need faith.
Most Evangelical Christian answers to the problem of evil and God are sorely lacking in depth. Most rely heavily on cliches: “God is still on the throne,” “God works in mysterious ways,” and “We don’t know how, but God gets glory out of all things.” They offer surface answers that don’t really cut it in the face of pain. They skip to the easy and happy way too quick.
None of the answers are satisfying to me either. I’ve rarely been impressed by any religious persons answer to this question.
Here are two giant things I know about the Problem of Evil and God:
A) The earliest written book of the Bible is the Book of Job. Job is all about the problem of Evil and God. And guess what? Even when God is directly asked the question, “Why am I suffering?” He refused to answer it. He’s not answering the question. That is, in fact, why we are still asking the question all these years later. God doesn’t answer it. If God didn’t answer it, all our answers are nothing more than human philosophy and speculation.
B) The central point of the Bible is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God was made flesh and dwelt among us. He came unto His own and they did not receive Him. Instead they beat, tortured, mocked, and then crucified Him. He bore in His own body our sin. He was wounded for our transgression. He was bruised for our iniquity. By His stripes we are healed. Evil, pain, and suffering are a major part of God’s plan of redemption. He entered into these things. He embraced the pain.
These two points, although not answering the question, give us a good indicator that whatever God’s attitude toward pain is, He’s not ignoring it. He’s not indifferent. If anything, He feels it more than we ever could.
That may not satisfy you. That may not “answer your question.” But then again, I don’t think God is trying to answer it. Perhaps God is wondering the same thing. “Why, since I’m good, do people go against me and ruin everything?”
Humans may not be the only ones baffled by this.
The Bible doesn’t specifically tell us why He allows evil and suffering to exist. But it does say that you should take care of the evil rampant in your own life. It does tell us to alleviate the sufferings of others. He promises His help and power for both.
Instead of pretending to have existential angst over the general problem of evil so you can deny God and faith for “rational” reasons, perhaps Larry King and we need to deal with our own evil and go from there.