A retrospective in light of tragedy in Nice, France: an update to a Biblical Viewpoint post first written on April 20, 2013 after the terrorist attack in Boston.
Evil boldly manifested again in the public square gives rise to the age-old question: How can a good God allow such bad things to happen? ♦
So it’s happening again. More bad things in a dark world, as they have happened all through human history. But once again unfathomable evil and a demonstration of man’s inhumanity to man played out in supposedly safe confines and environs of a civilized society.
And things will never be the same again in Oklahoma, London, Madrid, New York, Colorado, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. And now we can add Paris, San Bernardino, Orlando, and Nice.
The light has been overwhelmed by the dark and now runs in a confused haze looking for understanding, prevention, soothing, vengeance, reasons, assurance and hope. And answers to the timeless question: How can a good God allow such bad things to happen?
Check Your Worldview
If you struggle with the question, the answer is in your own perspective. While this sensitive and laden topic has been broached through previous Biblical Viewpoint posts, it really comes down to one’s worldview or set of assumptions that make up a personal outlook on the nature of the world and how to live and operate in that world.
We all have a worldview whether we recognize it or can articulate it. Your worldview is based on how you see answers to 5 key questions about life:
- Who or what is God?
- Who am I in context?
- What is right and wrong?
- What happens when I die?
- What is truth?
Your answers will dictate whether you have a Christian or else a non-Biblical worldview as summarized in these broad categories:
- Secular Naturalism – There is only undirected natural evolution. God does not exist and physical matter is all there is. This is a worldly utopian ideology.
- New Age Pantheism – “All is one, one is all, and all is God.” Hinduism and Buddhism share elements here. The New Age movement was a Western adaptation of this thinking.
- Islam – We are not created in the image of God, who is Allah (not the God of Christianity). There is no original sin and no grace. All are under submission and will of Allah, the god of Mohammad, author of the Quran.
- Eastern Polytheism – There are many gods, goddesses and spirits that we must cater to and please to have a good life. This can be found in Hinduism and offshoots of New Age spiritualism.
- Postmodern Relativism – “What ever works for you” or “Can there be any one system containing all truth?” This thinking is found in secular humanism and postmodernism. God may or may not exist but he doesn’t care or is not involved in our lives.
The Christian Worldview
So what’s a Christian Worldview? The Christian uses the Bible to answer all the worldview questions. There is only one God, who is supreme and sovereign. While He is transcendent – above and beyond us, He is also immanent – right here among us at the same time. He created it all – the universe and the world in which we live. He is eternal, nothing else is.
His crowning creative achievement was humankind; namely, us – we are made in God’s image. When we die we will either go to be with Him or be separated from Him forever. Because our inborn sin nature (see Book of Genesis) separates us from Him, out of love for His creation God intervened in human history sending His Son (Jesus) – a part of Himself – to redeem and justify us (see Book of Romans).
We can know God through two forms of revelation – the created order of His universe and special revelation via the Scriptures (Bible). And there is, and we can know, right from wrong. Moral truth, in particular, is absolute because God has pronounced it so in the Scriptures. We need to understand God’s statutes and His Word because we can be deceived by other people and by Satan, who “masquerades as an angel of light” (see 2 Corinthian and Ephesians).
Finally, the Bible teaches that history is linear. It has a beginning, it is going toward a goal and it will come to an end planned by God. Human history is trackable and fascinatingly aligned with Scripture, the Old Testament and the New Testament.
So Why these Terrorist Events?
Islamic fundamentalists, fallen people (and we are all fallen and require a Savior), operate outside of God’s scriptural defined moral truths and absolutes and murder innocents. Crime is to be punished. These men and women, not knowing the one true God, the God of Abraham (see Genesis) who has been revealed to all of us, exchanged His truth for a lie and were deceived by a false religion and worldview.
We are to move forward. In caution, wisdom, discernment, and love. As He first loved us. There is also hope in the midst of darkness and with repentance there is forgiveness of sins and redemption through a God who created it all and will restore it back someday to perfection as it was in the beginning.
In the meantime, keep assessing your own worldview in light of the evidence that’s around you. May we seek and find real truth as individuals and as nations.
In the light of global tragedy, what is your worldview?
“When you call out to me and come and pray to me, I’ll hear you. You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart. I’ll be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and I’ll restore your security…” – Jeremiah 29:12-14