Our hearts are broken and our thoughts and prayers are with the suffering people of Japan. We pray that they will somehow soon emerge from despair into renewed hope.
In the face of one unspeakable tragedy after another, the vexing question of God and evil, once again, is undoubtedly in the minds of many. How could a merciful and powerful God countenance such hideous instances of evil in the world?
Surely, the present tragedy affects the lives of each and every one of us, placing additional emphasis on the gnawing question of God and goodness.
In the weeks following the Haiti earthquake, I tried to help readers of this blog, myself included, come to grips with the baffling problem, which even believers in God’s goodness wrestle with. At a loss to address the question myself, I deferred, in my post of February 2, 2010 (“An Interesting Perspective On The Haiti Tragedy”), to Michael Cook, at MercatorNet.com. I recommend a second reading of that post.
The devastation in Japan reminds us of our human frailty, and of the stark truth that, natural evil is and always will be a threat. We can not discern the will or mind of God, but Christians believe firmly that He is not the author of evil.
Despite their sound reputation for preparedness, it is foolish to think that the Japanese government could have done more to protect the people of Northern Japan. Natural evil of this scope and magnitude is plainly the consequence of living on a planet which is geologically and meteorologically subject to disastrous events at intervals not precisely understood by earth scientists. Our vulnerability to natural disaster has been a given down through the ages.
Regarding the universe, we are very small and frail. Those of us who believe in God, realize that God gave us minds and souls to understand our purpose in the universe. We recognize our weakness, but we are aware.
Our freedom to choose good over evil is a responsibility shared by all, whether we are religious or not–whether God exists or not. Free will, whether we are religious or not, is the most common cause of our moral blindness. Isn’t it man’s indifference to evil which is the foremost reason for the spread of evil in the world?
We alone, are responsible for goodness in the world. We can’t expect God to magically protect us from our own brokenness.
Whether we are religious or not, striving for goodness in our everyday lives challenges us to make a positive difference in this wounded world. This is the essence of free will. It is the essence of coming into the grace of God.
Those of us who believe in God, can take solace and direction from a God who has set us on a path in life, and guides us in our daily walk.