How can we mere mortals account for or explain why good people, innocent persons suffer, and why so many wicked perpetrators of evil actions seem to escape justice here in this world?

 

 

For the atheist, the answer is simple and characteristically nihilistic.  There is no God sayeth the atheist.  And, the New Atheism of recent years stridently asserts that there can be no God, His existence is not even possible.  The non-existence of God explains the existence of evil and injustice and senseless tragedy in this world.  That is one explanation.

There are 2 more explanations if one believes in God.

First, and this may be offensive to some readers, is the assertion that God is responsible for the evil and injustice in the world either by being somewhat malevolent towards humans or through a callous indifference to the sufferings of humans.  Some shorten this to simply and bluntly assert that God is evil.

The second explanation is that God is not the cause of evil and injustice, but He allows these to occur and persist as part of a plan for man’s salvation, growth and development.  This plan for salvation can be viewed either collectively (a more macro perspective, i.e. for all mankind) or individually (a more micro view, for you the individual person).

There is a nationally known radio talk show host that is currently touting his recent book that addresses questions such as these on his radio program.  He asserts that God is omnipresent but is not omnipotent and allows free will, and that is why there is such terrible evil and injustice and senseless tragedy in the world.  He opines that if he is not correct and God is omnipotent, then God would be evil.  (We think we have conveyed correctly what he keeps repeating on his daily show that we have heard portions of a few times in the past several weeks.)  We believe this man to be in error.

We humans are rather prideful and arrogant at times, and believe ourselves to be far wiser than we truly are.  Yes, God allows free will, and yes there is much evil in the world.  There are many, many innocent victims of murderous violence (and abuse and neglect), natural disasters, horrible accidents, and of birth defects and terrible diseases, etc. each and every day in this hellish world.  Agreed.  But, those facts do not necessarily mean that God is not omnipotent (all-powerful).  Being omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent, does not mean that God cannot choose to refrain from intervening in the daily actions of human beings.  The fact that it appears to us that God is not intervening does not mean that God is not capable of intervening.  (A very crude analogy here would be that the fact that I choose to walk to the grocery store instead of driving an automobile there does not mean that I cannot drive a car or that I do not own a car.)  In our faith in God and His ultimate goodness, we need to cultivate some humility.  The ways of God are far beyond the ways of men.  God is not merely quantitatively so much greater than we mere mortals, but He is qualitatively much greater and different from us, too.

We have discussed our questions and reservations as regards the law of karma found in eastern religions previously.  Karma does not quite ring true to us.  It seems to be rationalizing the suffering of good people and not really explaining such suffering in a very satisfying way.  (The interested reader is referred to this earlier post that can be called up by typing the word karma in the search box on this blog.)  Yet, in Hinduism, karma is an inexorable law and for lack of a better word, mechanism that was put into operation by God.

What does evil and injustice tell us about God?

The reader will have to choose his/her own assumptions or conclusions here.

We believe that God exists and that He is not evil.  Yet, being aware of so much terrible suffering and evil in this world during these trying and terrible times, we sometimes find ourselves despairing that there will be any recompense for untold numbers of innocent victims in the next life.  Part of this despair or angst comes from the limitations of the caring individual who cannot alleviate or work to remedy more than a tiny, tiny fraction of the suffering and injustice here in this world.  We cannot know of course, but, sometimes hope withers away for a time.  Things can only be put right if God is truly just, loving and merciful.  Things can only be made right and new with an omnipotent God Who truly loves us, truly cares about us.

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