A headline in our local paper this last weekend read, “Why God, Why?” The story it highlighted was of a tragic accident where six young people were killed in a highway crash. As a parent of four, the question is one I can certainly understand, and hope I never have to ask.
And yet, as the facts of the case have come out, it has become apparent that the crash was completely preventable had different choices been made. The car that seems to have instigated the crash reeked of alcohol. The 16 year old driver was driving after curfew, had more people in her car than the law allowed, and no one was wearing a seat belt. As the facts become known, the onus of responsibility shifts to those whose choices forever ended the lives of others.
I think such an understanding is important for a believer as they view history, particularly that portion recorded in Scripture. As we read through the human tragedies chronicled therein, it is natural to ask, “Why?” Why the flood? Why the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah? Why the destruction of Jericho at the hands of the Israelites? The human tendency to focus on the tragedy rather than human choices overwhelms us.
Of course an atheist looks at the historical record and says, “How horrible is God that that He would judge humanity so harshly; He doesn’t deserve our trust”.
A believer understanding human nature looks at the same set of circumstances and says, “How horrible is sin that it causes such human tragedy; we should avoid it at all costs.”
While there is room for questioning, the final evaluation depends completely on ones perspective on human responsibility and culpability for our actions. In this faith is not blind, but informed by a wise understanding of the world in which we live.