CaptureOn 14th December 2012, Adam Lanza killed his mother before driving to Sandy Hook school and opening fire killing twenty children, aged 6 and 7, and six adults. The obvious question that many people will be asking is why did God allow such a tragedy to happen? After listening to one of the fathers of the victims (who sounded like a Christian), why would God allow this to happen to one of his children? This would turn the doctrine of blessings, breakthrough and favor right on its head. If God knows everything in advance, why did he allow this to happen? Couldn’t he of stopped it? Is God evil for allowing this to happen? These are the type of questions that many people (including Christians) will be asking and nothing is wrong with that. The Psalmist asked many honest questions.  Got Questions addresses this question head on from a biblical viewpoint

Question: “Why does God allow evil?”

Answer: The Bible describes God as holy (Isaiah 6:3), righteous (Psalm 7:11), just (Deuteronomy 32:4), and sovereign (Daniel 4:17-25). These attributes tell us the following about God: (1) God is capable of preventing evil, and (2) God desires to rid the universe of evil. So, if both of these are true, why does God allow evil? If God has the power to prevent evil and desires to prevent evil, why does He still allow evil? Perhaps a practical way to look at this question would be to consider some alternative ways people might have God run the world:

1) God could change everyone’s personality so that they cannot sin. This would also mean that we would not have a free will. We would not be able to choose right or wrong because we would be “programmed” to only do right. Had God chosen to do this, there would be no meaningful relationships between Him and His creation.

Instead, God made Adam and Eve innocent but with the ability to choose good or evil. Because of this, they could respond to His love and trust Him or choose to disobey. They chose to disobey. Because we live in a real world where we can choose our actions but not their consequences, their sin affected those who came after them (us). Similarly, our decisions to sin have an impact on us and those around us and those who will come after us.

2) God could compensate for people’s evil actions through supernatural intervention 100 percent of the time. God would stop a drunk driver from causing an automobile accident. God would stop a lazy construction worker from doing a substandard job on a house that would later cause grief to the homeowners. God would stop a father who is addicted to drugs or alcohol from doing any harm to his wife, children, or extended family. God would stop gunmen from robbing convenience stores. God would stop high school bullies from tormenting the brainy kids. God would stop thieves from shoplifting. And, yes, God would stop terrorists from flying airplanes into buildings.

While this solution sounds attractive, it would lose its attractiveness as soon as God’s intervention infringed on something we wanted to do. We want God to prevent horribly evil actions, but we are willing to let “lesser-evil” actions slide—not realizing that those “lesser-evil” actions are what usually lead to the “greater-evil” actions. Should God only stop actual sexual affairs, or should He also block our access to pornography or end any inappropriate, but not yet sexual, relationships? Should God stop “true” thieves, or should He also stop us from cheating on our taxes? Should God only stop murder, or should He also stop the “lesser-evil” actions done to people that lead them to commit murder? Should God only stop acts of terrorism, or should He also stop the indoctrination that transformed a person into a terrorist?

3) Another choice would be for God to judge and remove those who choose to commit evil acts. The problem with this possibility is that there would be no one left, for God would have to remove us all. We all sin and commit evil acts (Romans 3:23; Ecclesiastes 7:20; 1 John 1:8). While some people are more evil than others, where would God draw the line? Ultimately, all evil causes harm to others.

Instead of these options, God has chosen to create a “real” world in which real choices have real consequences. In this real world of ours, our actions affect others. Because of Adam’s choice to sin, the world now lives under the curse, and we are all born with a sin nature (Romans 5:12). There will one day come a time when God will judge the sin in this world and make all things new, but He is purposely “delaying” in order to allow more time for people to repent so that He will not need to condemn them (2 Peter 3:9). Until then, He IS concerned about evil. When He created the Old Testament laws, the goal was to discourage and punish evil. He judges nations and rulers who disregard justice and pursue evil. Likewise, in the New Testament, God states that it is the government’s responsibility to provide justice in order to protect the innocent from evil (Romans 13). He also promises severe consequences for those who commit evil acts, especially against the “innocent” (Mark 9:36-42).

In summary, we live in a real world where our good and evil actions have direct consequences and indirect consequences upon us and those around us. God’s desire is that for all of our sakes we would obey Him that it might be well with us (Deuteronomy 5:29). Instead, what happens is that we choose our own way, and then we blame God for not doing anything about it. Such is the heart of sinful man. But Jesus came to change men’s hearts through the power of the Holy Spirit, and He does this for those who will turn from evil and call on Him to save them from their sin and its consequences (2 Corinthians 5:17). God does prevent and restrain some acts of evil. This world would be MUCH WORSE were not God restraining evil. At the same time, God has given us the ability to choose good and evil, and when we choose evil, He allows us, and those around us, to suffer the consequences of evil. Rather than blaming God and questioning God on why He does not prevent all evil, we should be about the business of proclaiming the cure for evil and its consequences—Jesus Christ!

Let us pray for all of those who have been directly or indirectly affected by this shooting. I honestly do not know how I would be if my children were the ones left in a pool of blood.

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn – Romans 12:15

Related Posts:

 Why does God allow evil?

 Why does God allow evil? – Part 2

 Why does God allow evil? – Part 3: Pain and Suffering

 Why does God allow evil? – Part 4: If God is so powerful and so good, why do bad things happen?

If God knew people would sin, why did he make them?

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Comments
  1. Andy says:

    Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

    Epicurus, 341–270 BC

  2. Daryl says:

    God gives us the free will to choose. His way or our own way.

    There are consequences for our choices and God allows us to make up our own minds which way we should go. For far too long we have been making wrong choices and not doing life God’s way. The end result is a people so far removed from God that He no longer matters to them and His word does not mean a thing to them. Then something like this happens and we say,” Where is God?”

    God is where He has always been, in heaven. This is what happens when people do not know and love Him.

    God is so much bigger than all of this. I guess the question we need to ask ourselves is where will you be spending eternity? I am re-assured by the scripture that those kids are with Jesus right now.

    Rom 5:13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.)

    My translation is (If you don’t know it’s a sin, then sin is not counted against you)
    But if you know it’s a sin then you are guilty of sin and the wages of sin is death.

    Rom 6:23
    For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    It might sound cold at this time but our time on Earth is just a short time when compared to eternity, but what you do here affects your eternity.

    This is the result of sin. What is sin? Sin is anything that separates us from God.

    Isaiah 59:2
    But your iniquities have separated
    you from your God;
    your sins have hidden His face from you,
    so that He will not hear.

    God does not have degrees of sin. God does not say,” This sin is worse than that sin”, that is our response. While I totally agree that this is a horrendous act that should not have been committed and all efforts should be to try and prevent this sort of thing happening, to God its sin.

    I know that there will be a time of much grief, which is needed, but I pray for all those involved in this tragedy that you would find God’s will for the future and that God will come to you and you can find some comfort in Him.

    There is no answer that can comfort at this time. The Holy Spirit is our comforter so I will seek Him.

    I feel so upset, angry, sick, hurt and horrified right now that I cannot even imagine how the people involved must be feeling. But I don’t blame God. This is man at his worst and a godless man can be really horrible.

    Jesus is the answer for this world. I would encourage us all to seek Him, not only now, but always.

    Daryl.

  3. lovesalve says:

    It’s a tough one to answer and you’ve done so with much consideration. I agree we all have a free will but even then God advises us to choose to listen to him and be in constant relationship, then our will merges with His and we can live in that fullness of that blessing.

  4. unboxedtruth says:

    This is a very awesome reflection of this truth..more people should read this. God is willing and able but he needs our permission. We as Christians ought to pray for more discernment and the ability to discern some things that are to come so we can pray against them. When we pray specifically with revelation God then has our permission to step in. thanks for you deep insight.

  5. robin claire says:

    I have often put this question out myself. How much “enough” is “enough”? Where does one draw the line between “acceptable” evil and “unacceptable” evil? There is no place where one can say for sure “This is where to draw the line”. I have written about this subject in my journals and am going to be writing a post about it soon.
    Thank you for a very good post
    robin claire

  6. This is crushing for any family . . . But the children are safe in the arms of JESUS !!

  7. Charles says:

    Have you ever heard such sanctimonious rubbish! People: there is a difference between truth and fact. To which “god” are we referring here? Which version of the “truth” is being espoused? My friends: faith is an individual issue and a human trait. Religion is institutionalised guilt and allows the mental lightweights something on which to hang their hats rather than figure things out for themselves. My God built the world (thank you) then moved on – but that’s my God. Things happens, fear and intimidation will prevent real change which is to repeal the 2nd Amendment.

    Peace, and I mean that most sincerely.

    C. X

    • Alan Higgins says:

      It doesn’t matter what you believe or what I believe. Our beliefs cannot make something true. It is either true or it isn’t. However, if the bible and the God of that bible is true, then you will be left wanting when you die and you will be in big trouble. Please read my message to non christians at the top of this blog

  8. Gerard says:

    If you’re gonna follow God, you have to do it completely and leave behind worldly thinking. The carnal mind is enmity against God. But we have mind of Christ. (These are both Bible verses) If God wrote the Bible through His people, and you claim to be His people, then believe what is written over what man says about what is written. God is omnipotent. He gives freedom of choice. Why does God’s Word tell us that “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed?” Because we are ambassadors for Christ. We are the ones who are supposed to pick up where Jesus left off. Jesus says that we will do even greater things than He because He goes to the Father. So why are we not seeing these things come to pass? Because of freedom of choice. Jesus calmed the storm and we are supposed to do the same things as He, why is no one taking a stand against hurricanes and earthquakes? Because the Truth does not get taught in mainstream Christianity. Read the Bible and believe it. We are in Christ and He is in us. He has all authority and power in heaven and on earth, and since we are IN Him, we use the power He has while we are here on earth. What good is it for Him to give us His Spirit as a deposit if we can’t do what He said we can? We are supposed to go heal the sick, but what church is really teaching that? What good does it do for Jesus to put His Spirit in us if we are supposed to wait until He returns in order to use the power He says we have? We have the Holy Spirit in us NOW, we are supposed to be living like Jesus did NOW. Let’s forget all the false teaching coming out of mainstream Christianity and start being God’s children. I know this is true because I learned that I lay hands on the sick and they recover, and I see it all the time. If that part of God’s Word is true, it all has to be true. God is not a liar.

  9. David says:

    I agree with you, we have free will… and unfortunately, that means that bad things happen just as well as good things. I was sickened by this shooting, but I don’t blame God at all… I do blame the devil though and evil in the world. What a lot of people don’t know, is that the same day this shooting happened… There was a knife attack on like 2 dozen students in China too. Thankfully nobody was killed in that attack, but I really do think that something strange was going on that day.

    By the way, I don’t know if you can use this on your blog, but EBible.com has some great Bible tools. They have a code you can put on your site and when you reference a scripture, it automatically links it and when people hover over it, it displays the entire verse. Thought you might find that useful.

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