california burning

Well, it's begun again. California is burning down around us. So much land and life has been scorched. August was a rough month. Along with the reality tv star who stuffed his ex-wife in a suitcase, removing her teeth and nails, only to have the serial #s on her breast implants ID the corpse, and the kidnappers compound discovered in northern CA, the ehadlines have been pretty grisly here. Through it all, people are asking, "why?", "how did this happen?" and perhaps most painfully, "Who is responsible for this?"

Who is responsible for it all?


A classic reform position would soberly nod that, yes, all of this is God's doing. Somehow, in all of it's horror, these events help establish God's moral economy and worship in the universe. This line of thinking justifies great evil in its service to God's aims, and frankly, despite modern popularizers like John Piper, this reasoning falls down. (You really should check out Halden's blog on this issue, here and here and here.) I don't think that this is the truest picture of God that scripture paints. Instead I believe it is Christ, the one who suffers with us, subject to the same terrors of life.

But this, still does not resolve the issue for me entirely. We believe that God can and does do good - is both powerful enough and willing to. So it still nags in one's mind, "Why was good withheld in this instance?" Why doesn't everyone get a chance to be Lazarus, even if only for a day? It is easier to be one of Job's friends than it is Job himself, heaven help us.

What do you think?


  1. My thoughts on the matter is trying to explain something complete while we ourselves are incomplete is a recipe for disaster. Forget the obvious tie between incompleteness and sin (which I believe is a strong connection) and just consider that we, as humans, experience life as the acquisition of knowledge which we consider time. Time is continually being revealed to us and we cannot know why until after it comes to us.

    This puts us in a very poor position to say what is "good" or "bad" in the absolute sense. We can only relate to what we know, which is our preferences. Although we may not "like" something, it doesn't necessarily mean it is "bad".

    Are we disturbed AT God because these terrible things happen? Or are we disturbed because WE CANNOT COMPREHEND WHY they happened?


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