“as we returned from work, we saw three gallows… The SS [guards] seemed more preoccupied, more worried, than usual. To hang a child in front of thousands of onlookers was not a small matter. The head of the camp read the verdict. All eyes were on the child. He was pale, almost calm, but he was biting his lips as he stood in the shadow of the gallows… ‘Where is merciful God, where is He?’ someone behind me was asking. At the signal, the three chairs were tipped over… Then came the march past the victims. The two men were no longer alive… The child, too light, was still breathing… And so he remained for more than half an hour, lingering between life and death… Behind me, I heard the same man asking: ‘For God’s sake, where is God?’ And from within me, I heard a voice answer; ‘Where is He? This is where – hanging here from this gallows…’” — From a book entitled “Night” by Elie Wiesel
Where is God when a child is shot in Newtown or hung in Auschwitz or killed in an American drone air strike or for that matter dies of cancer? I don’t know. There is no answer.
Talk of God giving humans free will and thus allowing us to face the consequences of our choices solves nothing. If the creator could intervene personally when it came to the magic tricks in the Bible like making the sun stand still for a day in a battle, he could have done something about that child gasping out his young life. He didn’t. Theology that tries to paper this horrible fact over with explanations about why there is evil is nothing but nervous blather
I must admit that I don’t put much credence in the Old Testament being anything close to totally true and inerrant. To do so would mean that I would have to degrade my feelings about God. The above quote is the perfect example of this fact especially the words “If the creator could intervene personally when it came to the magic tricks in the Bible like making the sun stand still for a day in a battle, he could have done something about that child gasping out his young life.” As the author says any explanation of this difference is blather.
In the Old Testament stories God seemed to intervene in the most trivial of events. Making massive walls crumble with a trumpeter’s breath is a good example. Why would God do that and then allow so much tragedy to happen later? I don’t know the answer to that question. I can only rationalize it that all the evil the world has known makes God just as sad as any of us.
As mentioned above I know that the idea that God gave man free will and then turned the world over to him is not very comforting but to me that is the reality. God being omnipotent he could intervene in these tragic situations but what would we learn from that? We would learn that God is there to bail us out if we get in too deep. We would learn that we don’t need to take responsibility for anything as God would always fix our screw-ups. I know some of my Christian brothers believe that is what he does for some. But why some and not others? These sort of thoughts are still very unsettling for me as a follower of Jesus. At this point in my life I just can’t fathom the answers….