Books, essays and articles have been written over the years, indeed the millenia, about why bad things happen to good people. Another way of asking the same question is why does God “allow” evil to exist in the world. Several famous atheists of note have often referred to that alleged factor as the fundamental reason to reject any notion of a God and especially a benevolent God.
This difficult issue has a very long history since man began recording his thoughts in writing. You can read Job in the Old Testament and see this question as you can in many of the Psalms. The greatest teacher of them all even posited the question to God directly. You will recall that even Jesus when on the cross and suffering cried out –“My Father, why hast thou forsaken me?” Here was a man without blame and in fact sacrificing himself for the redemption of others and yet in his suffering he too had a moment of doubt. Many of those who ask this question display anger at God and place the blame directly on Him for all the troubles and afflictions Man has endured over the centuries.
History sadly is replete with many examples of terrible things happening to Mankind. Most were caused by Man himself in his relationship with others such as invasions, wars and oppressions over the centuries. You can find terrible events in virtually any century you wish from recorded time either BC or AD. Volcanoes and earthquakes and wars were common in the Iron Age, the savages came to killed or enslaved hundreds of thousands or millions with the collapse of the Roman Empire, the Dark Ages were grim and desperate for most, the religious wars and the Black Plague ravaged the period before the Renaissance and thereafter the wars and natural disasters have been recorded aplenty. During all these times that question was asked by the common man and by the learned of any particular age.
Yet one can make the case that the question itself is the wrong one. It might be more appropriate to ask why God does intervene to make things better, to overcome the natural consequences of Mother Nature and Man’s own proclivity to violence and greed. If it is true that there is no God then there is only Mother Nature ( a short-hand for the effects of chemistry, biology, physic and the other natural forces of the universe) to determine our lives, existence and futures. By definition Mother Nature has no heart, no purpose, no aim or goal in mind. Those forces simply exist and follow their course as dictated by the laws of nature. Mother Nature does not care whether we even exist or not and the concept of suffering or pain would be like casting the pearls before the swine to Mother Nature.
As brutal as Man has been to his fellow-man over the millenia, we have survived. Does Mother Nature care whether we are here or not? The answer is no, she couldn’t possibly be more indifferent. During the Black Plague many thought the end of the war was nigh because so much death and pain was imposed on everyone. One third of the European population was wiped in a generation. We’ve not really seen that kind of destruction since in spite of the terrible losses due to wars, famine and natural disasters. Left to her own devices Mother Nature might well have terminated all mankind at that point. Yes, I know about the immunity that built up among some people and the effects of chemistry and biology on their bodies that made some survive and ultimately allowed us to be here. But that was not an inevitable consequence of the plague, another destructive course could have been followed. We only have to remember that the dinosaurs were rulers of the earth for millions of years and yet they disappeared unless you know of one somewhere. If you do then you will get rich by displaying it on American Idol or some reality show.
Perhaps God did love us and has saved us from ourselves and from Mother Nature on numerous occasions. Some of us like our faith based on facts and logic in addition to our emotional needs. We have displayed a truly remarkable ability over the years to rise from the ashes repeatedly like the Phoenix. Whatever has allowed that to occur, it was not Mother Nature. She has no plan or scheme for us or the universe. Logic reveals to me anyway, that there is a plan or purpose to our existence or else we would have gone the way of the dinosaurs and the countless other species that have faded from existence. In any event there is nothing wrong with feeling comforted and it is sure comforting to think I have someone who cares about me other than Mother Nature because I know for a fact she doesn’t care or even know I exist.
“If God is for us, who is against us?” Paul writing in Romans. www.olcranky.wordpress.com