Another major earthquake has captured the attention of the world, and in times like these we always hear the question of, “How could a loving God allow this to happen?”
Before I attempt to give my two cents on this question, let me assure the reader that my heart hurts for the ones involved and my prayers are with them. This is a purely theological answer, absent the tact that would be used in a personal encounter with one of these victims.
To ask how a loving God could allow these tragedies to occur presupposes that God is acting in an unloving way, as if death were somehow reserved for the scumbags of society, the Hitlers and bin Ladens.
I have been asked why God would allow a man to die slowly over the course of weeks, and I have also been asked why God would take someone so suddenly in an accident. The reality is that death stinks no matter how it happens or how long it takes.
But death itself is a natural part of life, and God is not unloving for allowing it to happen. As John Greenleaf Whittier penned in The Eternal Goodness:
I know not what the future hath, of marvel or surprise,
Assured alone that life and death His mercy underlies.
This was not the way it was supposed to be, mind you. God’s original plan did not involve death, but in Adam’s original sin in the Garden a curse was put on this world. Romans 5:12 teaches that it was by this one man that sin entered into the world, and death came as a result of sin. Now death passes upon all men, for all have sinned.
The only guarantee of this life is that we will die. We cannot say that tomorrow we will go to work or go to the store; we will only do those things if the Lord allows it (James 4:14-15).
I say this, not to sound like the inappropriate leaders who rush to the TV cameras to announce God’s judgment on the world because of homosexuality, but to simply remind the reader that God is not unloving for allowing death to occur.
As Christians we are pilgrims passing through this life towards heaven (Hebrews 11:13), who never really die anyway, but simply pass from death to life with God (John 5:24/I John 3:14). When we get to heaven we aren’t going to wish we had more time on earth, but be glad that we have eternity with God.
We need to do all that we can to comfort and assist those who have lost loved ones, houses, and other things, but we do not need to point our finger of blame toward God.