The Sovereignty of God and Reality of Evil
When suffering comes to us, we naturally — instinctively — want to know what or who has caused it. The answer to that question often affects how we respond to the pain. We focus immediately on the obvious causes. For an illness, we think about what has gone wrong with our body biochemistry. After an accident, we visit and revisit what happened, how it happened and whose fault it was.
When a so-called “natural” disaster strikes, we may think about why people were living where they lived, why the early warnings didn’t work, why the flood defenses were inadequate, and so on. We want to blame somebody or something. And, whether or not we can blame a human agent, behind all that we want to blame God. For God — if there is a God — must have something to do with it all.
After that, we may react with bitterness, recriminations, or resentment. Perhaps these are specific, or maybe we are just left with a residual sense that we have been unfairly treated. At the beginning of the book of Job, Job suffers four terrible tragedies (Job 1:13–19) before losing his health (Job 2:7–8). Two of the four tragedies we might today call “natural disasters” (although the Bible never uses this expression); the other two would perhaps come under the label of “terrorism.”
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