trying to understand God

got a question from a friend the other day who is trying to understand God. among other things right now, a family member of theirs is still wondering why God would allow their 12 year old to die in an accident 21 years ago. i get asked questions like this a lot from teens and other people (and it's moments like this that i wish i could peal the "pastor sticker" off my forehead). while i feel like i have at least a partial, big picture "answer", it still is a question where silence and shrugged shoulders rule the day. i wrote back already, but just curious what you would say?


Andy said...

Wow, that is a tough issue.

There's no good reason to explain why my brother was born with hemophilia and contracted HIV when he was 2. Sucky things happen.

But since Adam and Eve got kicked out of Eden, the world has been a risky, dangerous place.

I suppose I'd suggest that your friend encourage their family member to pour out their feelings to God honestly and see what happens.

Because God is big enough to handle our anger, sadness, and questions.

Anonymous said...

I liked this post. I am an agnostic but if God exists I would be furious with him. I don't know how people can love him, especially without proof that he exists. I view God as sadistic and bipolar.

naturgesetz said...

Hey, Cory, your brother alerted me to this blog several days ago. The "Problem of Evil" is one of the big questions. A lot of very sincere people, like the anonymous agnostic commenter, are deeply troubled by it. My kid brother, raised Catholic, became an atheist in his mid-late teens because of it. $0 years later he has begun to use descriptions like "animist," and "curious" on Facebook to characterize his religion.

What i would say to questions about why God allows such things is, first, "I don't know." I might acknowledge that my mind isn't as big as God's and I can't possibly hope to understand everything he does. I'd want to add that I do know that we don't get to heaven without dying, and that this world isn't heaven. I'd want to say that I don't believe that God directly causes these things: some things, like accidents, are caused by how people choose to act — they may not intend the accident, but somebody does something or fails to do something; then there are diseases and natural disasters — things that are just the result of the way nature works. So it's not as if God were sitting in heaven saying, "Today I'm going to zap John Doe." Christianity tells us that in some way the evils are the result of our sinfulness. How? I don't know. But we get back to the point that we can only expect a world without evil in heaven, and trust that God is at work to bring us there, and the victims of tragedies, once they have tasted heaven, wouldn't want to be back here.