Whenever tragedies happen (9/11, Virginia Tech, etc.) people often ask, “Where was God?” as if He were asleep at the wheel. (Oddly, we usually ask that question for our tragedies and not for those endured by others, but that is fodder for another post.)
Yet many people – Christians included – tend to be repulsed by the doctrine of Hell, even though it is thoroughly and clearly taught in scripture.
So my question for those people who hold both of these views is, “Which is it?” Do you want God to judge evil or not?
When Christians object to the doctrine of Hell I wonder if they are as familiar with the holiness of character of God as they should be. God will punish all evil. People will either pay the penalties for their own sins, or they can trust in the finished work of Jesus on the cross.
It seems that God has three options with respect to evil:
1. Restrain all evil. But to eliminate all evil in the present world would require eliminating every human being or our free will. As the saying goes, if God eliminated all evil at midnight tonight, where would you be at 12:01 AM? Be careful what you ask for.
2. Permit all evil – I think it is pretty obvious that we don’t want this one.
3. Restrain some evil, and eventually judge it all. That may seem tough in the short term, but I think it is the best scenario. For all we know, the 9/11 attacks may have been restrained by God for his own good purpose.
If someone had described the circumstances of the attacks before you knew the death toll, would you have guessed that it would have been around 3,000? I would have estimated it to be much higher. And what if nuclear weapons had been used? Perhaps it was good that a serious attack happened so that we would work more effectively to prevent an attack on a much larger scale. I’m not trying to put a happy face on 9/11; I’m just offering a perspective.
God is not asleep, and He will eventually judge all evil. We may not understand everything that happens, but He is sovereign over the universe.