Since we believe that God is the author of this planet and is sovereign over it, it's inevitable that we ask where he is when these terrible things take place.
I think the Bible answers that over
and over again from different angles and in different ways. We find our
first answer, of course, in the book of Genesis, in which we're told of
the fall of humanity. God's immediate response to the transgression of
the human race against his rule and authority was to curse the earth and
human life. Death and suffering entered the world as a direct result of
sin. We see the concrete manifestation of this in the realm of nature,
where thorns become part of the garden and human life is now
characterized by the sweat of the brow and the pain that attends even
the birth of a baby. This illustrates the fact that the world in which
we live is a place that is full of sorrows and tragedy.
must never conclude that there's a one-to-one correlation in this life
between suffering and the guilt of the people on whom tragedies fall. If
there were no sin in the world, there would be no suffering. There
would be no fatal accidents, no random shootings. Because sin is present
in the world, suffering is present in the world, but it doesn't always
work out that if you have five pounds of guilt, you're going to get five
pounds of suffering. That's the perception that the book of Job labors
to dispel, as does Jesus' answer to the question about the man born
blind (John 9:1-11).
the other hand, the Bible makes it clear that God lets these things
happen and in a certain sense ordains that they come to pass as part of
the present situation that is under judgment. He has not removed death
from this world. Whether it's what we would consider an untimely death
or a violent death, death is part of the nature of things. The only
promise is that there will come a day when suffering will cease
The disciples asked Jesus about similar instances—for
example, the Galileans' blood that was mingled with the sacrifices by
Pilate or the eighteen people who were killed when a temple collapsed.
The disciples asked how this could be. Jesus' response was almost
severe. He said, "Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish,"
again bringing the question back to the fact that moral wickedness makes
it feasible for God to allow these kinds of dreadful things to take
place in a fallen world.
~ Excerpted from Now, That’s a Good Question! Copyright © 1996 by R. C. Sproul