This past week, I’ve had conversations with two different people in which the question arose, “Why does God allow _____?” You can fill in the blank with pestilence, storms, murder, or whatever question happens to be on your mind at the time.
This is a question a lot of people ask. In fact, I would guess most of us have asked it at one time or another. I suspect it’s a question that has stopped many people from accepting Jesus and His saving grace.
When God created man, He wanted a race of beings that could decide of their own volition to fellowship with him. He didn’t need servants—He already had millions of angels to serve that purpose. But angels could not fill this desire, because they had no free will. They couldn’t freely decide they wanted God.
Because of this, He created Adam and Eve and gave them free will. He told them what he wanted them to do and not do—what they should do and not do—but he gave them the free will to obey or disobey.
Not to pick on Adam and Eve, because you and I would have done the same thing, but when they disobeyed and ate the forbidden fruit, sin entered the previously perfect world. Mankind fell, and nature fell along with it. This was no longer the perfect world God created.
The only limits on God’s omnipotence are His own self-imposed limits, but He does place certain limits upon Himself. If He was truly going to give man free will, He had to give man the space to exercise that free will and experience its consequences.
If you tell me I have the free will to jump off a cliff, but you stop me every time I try to exercise that free will so you can spare me from the consequent death or injury I would sustain from jumping, you have abridged my free will. You have denied me the very thing you told me I had.
That’s the same position God was and is in with respect to His fallen creation. If He interfered with our right to experience the consequences of our actions, He would then have abridged our free will. We wouldn’t actually have it.
Murder and rape and abortion are part of man’s fallen condition. Hurricanes and forest fires are part of nature’s fallen condition. For God to reach out and arbitrarily stop these things would negate the free will with which He endowed us.
When a baby starves to death, when a woman is raped, when a hurricane ruins a village, that was not God’s doing. It was the result of the fall.
Does this mean that God simply sits in heaven and watches, never lending a hand? No, but rather than run this post overlong, we’ll discuss that in a future post, probably next Tuesday.
If you abide in Me and My word abides in you, then you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.
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David – I’ll admit I finally put a magnet on my refrigerator to remind me that He will never give me more than I can carry. I will admit that somedays I readily admit to throwing up my hands and answering, “Really”.
When times get confusing I try to remember the promise “God will not allow you to be tested beyond what you can bear.” You’re right. The tests come because of sin. Even his most faithful have been tested. Heck, look at Job! Yet there’s something to be said for getting through it…and I’ve found that if we open our eyes, we’ll see the people he sends along the way to help us through our trials.
You’ve got it, Kitt. God always takes bad things and brings good out of them.
You’re welcome, Sharon. Hope it clarifies it for others, too.
Thanks for helping clarify this for me.