Most Christians live in a fairy tale world where God is the good father who sits idly by watching his children hoping that they will make the right choices. They believe this despite the fact that scriptures in their Bibles tell an entirely different story of what God's role is in the affairs of men.
One of the foundational stories of the Bible is the story of Mosses and the Exodus. That is the one where God sends Charlton Heston who is living the good life in exile back to Egypt to free the enslaved Israelites. Consider this passage from when God gives him the assignment.
The LORD said to Moses, "When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.(Exodus 4:21)And as we all know from the movie that is exactly what Mosses did, he performed all sorts of wonders (that God gave Charlton the power to do) and every time that Yul Brynner (Pharaoh) was about to relent, God hardened Pharaoh's heart.
But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said to Moses. (Exodus 9:12)Even after God lays waist to Egypt, virtually destroying it with hail and rain and even after Pharaoh repents
Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron. "This time I have sinned," he said to them. "The LORD is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong.(Exodus 9:27)Even after this and a few passages where it is made to look like Pharaoh backslides, God through His Holy scripture let's everyone know, that it was He (God) who is responsible for what has happened and what will happen:
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these miraculous signs of mine among them (Exodus 10:1)Why would God do this?
that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the LORD." (Exodus 10-2)As an example, to show people for ages to come that HE was in charge, not them. How far would God go to show us that He is in charge of His creation? To show us an example of God's sovereignty in His creation?
After God visits even more destitution on Egypt in the form of locusts, Pharaoh once again has had enough, he surrenders:
"Forgive my sin, just this once, and plead with the LORD your God to take away this death from me."(Exodus 10:17)But God is not done using Pharaoh:
But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not let the Israelites go.(Exodus 10:20)So in point of fact it is God, not pharaoh who will not let His people go. Is God making a point here in scripture? I would think so but it is one that the modern day Pharisees seem determined to ignore. Well the final act in the play is difficult to sweep under the rug, though Christians do. After some more heart hardening:
Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh, but the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not let the Israelites go out of his country. (Exodus:11:10)God, not Pharaoh, not the devil, not man's free will not any other entity in God's creation but God Himself kills millions of innocent children.
At midnight the LORD struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well. Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead. (Exodus 12:29-30)As a reminder, all of this would have ended long ago in the story had God not hardened the repentant heart of Pharaoh. If the killing of the innocent is the definition of evil, then God makes Adam Lanza, the Connecticut shooter look like a choir boy.
What does that disturb you? Does it disturb you to realize that throughout your Bible and reality itself shows that if their is evil in the world, it is God that not only permits it, He directs it. To believe otherwise is to believe in the two coequal God theory of Satan and God doing battle for men's spirits (not souls) with Satan obviously the more powerful since by Christian accounting he, Satan, is winning.
But what is evil? In the temporal sense it can be many things to us "mortals", usually having to do with moral judgments that uphold and reinforce standards of communal living. The Law which was brought by Mosses (those Ten Commandments of movie fame) were nothing more, yet nothing less than a good foundation for civilization building. But and this is the big but in the larger picture, and if anything is the larger picture it is God, the law ceased to have dominion over us with the advent of Christ.
For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.(John 1:17)Or as Paul pointed out in words sometimes "hard to understand"
Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” (Galatians 3:11)And as with Pharaoh and his hardened heart God decides who has faith and who does not "So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever He wills."
Or in greater detail:
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:That is why when I read something like this
Not of works, lest any man should boast.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians2:8-11)
Either God cannot abolish evil or he will not; if he cannot then he is not all powerful; if he will not then he is not all-good.I realize how narrow a view most Christian have of an eternal God. As if all of creation is geared around the speck of a man's lifetime. Christian wax eloquent about the everlasting love of God without ever seeming to grasp the everlasting part of the equation. The idea that God might use evil for a greater good is somehow anathema to Christian philosophy, despite the fact that over and over in the Bible we have examples of God doing just that.
The idea that if God uses evil that this would somehow make God evil is not only just a " precept of men" , it is counter to the idea of an omnipotent God. Either God is everything, or He is nothing The theological games Christians play in order to absolve their God of responsibility for what transpires within His creation while simultaneously claiming His omnipotence is childishness of the highest order. The scripture says that He works all thing to His own will, well He either does or he doesn't.
You most often hear it expressed in terms like this "God permits evil, but He does not want it."
Well I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that if God does not want something and it happens anyway, then He isn't worth worshipping. If your God's will is so inept as to permit that which He does not condone then why are you playing this game?
I know what you may be thinking, did God condone the killing of those innocent children in Newton? Well at the risk of eternal hellfire damnation, why yes He did. If God is not responsible for that which we perceive as being bad, then He can not be responsible for all that we perceive to be good. Again, God is everything or He is nothing.
After all, as I have just pointed out in scripture, God very clearly is responsible for the deaths of all the first born of Egypt, did God stop working in the affairs of men? Are you one of those who believe that the Bible truly is just a story having no relationship to the present? Or are you one of those who will just ignore the scriptures that do not fit the nice little box that Christianity has managed to confine their God into?
As for me I choose to believe that all the Newton victims, as well as their killer are all in far better place than we can even imagine and I have no problem with that at all, in fact I call it divine justice.
It really makes little difference because in the end, God's will be done, whether we like it or understand it ...or not.