This week’s quick challenge answer is to the question: Where is God in school shootings? We have addressed different forms of the problem of evil in previous blog posts and podcasts. This particular form of evil seems to hit us on a more personal level however. We’d all like to think that if one of us were aware that a shooting was about to take place, we would try to stop it. So why doesn’t God stop school shootings?
First of all, it’s not at all clear to me that God isn’t working in these situations. God does give us free will, and that free will is often violently misused. In light of this, He can and does act to limit the acts of violence. In our latest podcast, I relate a personal story from the Columbine shooting. It’s just one example of how God worked to limit the damage done is that particular case.
God also has knowledge of what will come in the future. Small decisions or actions that take place at a fixed point in time can have a huge impact on future events. So some actions, as horrific as they can seem in the moment, can change things in the future for the better.
Lastly, as with all forms of evil, God uses these events to draw us closer to Him and to each other. We all want a world in which goodness, kindness and love exist. Unfortunately, for people to do these things genuinely, we must have the choice to do otherwise. When people abuse their freedoms, it gives the rest of us the opportunity to love our neighbors. And in our greatest times of trial, we also grow closer to God.
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