Many people blame God for the terrible things that happen in our world: the death of a loved one, illnesses, natural disasters, even acts of terror. Some claim that these are ways that God judges and punishes us. But Jesus gives us a very different picture of God. Jesus reveals that despite the evil in our world, God is always on our side, wants what is best for us, and loves us beyond measure.
Most people in Jesus’ time assumed that Pilate killing and the tower falling were acts of God’s judgment on specific individuals. This is the oldest view of God in the history of religion. Wealth is interpreted as blessing and hardship as punishment. And some add a view of “predestination” on top of this where they are taught that God from all eternity preordained every specific act in history, even those that are evil. Therefore, if a mom looses her baby, this is somehow God’s pre-planned way of teaching the mother something. But what she is being taught is not clear.
This is a view of God that is hard to love passionately. And besides, Jesus presents a quite different view of God and suffering. He actually heals diseases and never suggests punishment. So, in this passage Pilate’s slaughter and the falling tower are not acts of divine punishment. Instead, we must realize that evil is a result of human and angelic free will. We live in a war zone where people and fallen angels perform horrible acts and create situations in a world that result in evil. We need not credit God with evil that people or angels do.
God does use evil situations but he does not cause them. He brings a purpose to the event, but does not have a purpose for the event. Therefore when evil does occur, we don’t need to try to figure it out or try to determine why it happened or why a good God could let such evil occur. What’s important is how we respond. How can God use us to bring healing, show love and reveal God’s goodness in a situation that looks nothing like God?
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