IS GOD RESPONSIBLE FOR EVIL AND SUFFERING?
Ask any Christian this question, and their knee-jerk reaction is almost sure to be “No.” If this is your initial reaction, I can empathize; however, on closer observation of Scripture, the answer to our question is actually “Yes.” There is no clearer text on this than Isaiah 10, where God says he is sending the king of Assyria (a wicked empire to say the least—think Nazis!) against his people (Israel) to punish them for their disobedience. Isaiah 10:6 says, “I send him (the Assyrian king) against a godless nation. I dispatch him against a people who anger me, to seize loot and snatch plunder, and to trample them down like mud in the streets” (NLT).
This brutal act of violence and carnage took place in 722 B. C. It was as brutal as the Rape of Nanking or the Jewish Holocaust, and God did it! It involved virtually every form of evil and cruelty known to mankind: torture, rape, bloodshed, burning, destroying, brutality, wanton slaughter, etc. And God did it! Even more shocking, in Isaiah 10:12, God says after he is done using the king of Assyria, he will turn on him to punish him for his sin and pride. What a powerful reminder that God is in complete control of his creation. This is both terrifying and comforting at the same time. Terrifying to the unsaved; comforting to God’s people. God’s sovereign care and control of every miniscule detail in the universe is a source of incredible comfort for his people. Maybe you need that comfort and reminder today.
In the Bible, God reminds us that this is his universe, and he does as he pleases. Christians often try to get God “off the hook” when it comes to suffering and evil. They say things like, “God only allowed it due to human choice.” But surely such an answer doesn’t do justice to the evidence of Scripture. There is no way evil and suffering could have taken hold of our planet if they had not been in God’s sovereign plan from the beginning. When we ask “Why?”, the only hint of answer given in the Bible is that God does all things for his glory. This was St. Augustine’s conclusion also. He is a God who loves his glory and also loves to rescue any who call on his Son, Jesus, for salvation.
by Jay Childs, Senior Pastor