Friday, July 20, 2012

G-d's Knowledge of the Future: The Colorado Shootings

Our hearts do hurt for the lost and injured lives resulting from the shooting in Colorado last night. No doubt, many will be searching to understand "why" this occurred. We want to know why because if we know that, we can hopefully prevent this type of tragedy from happening again. We seek to understand tragedy so we can make sense of it. One of my concerns is when we state that "God" is still in charge; that He knew in advance of the tragedy, yet He allowed it to occur, we give ammunition to those who deny the existence of G-d. I read the following post from a Christian organization referencing the shooting: "Please know that even though evil is in this world & people act it out, God is in control & He does not slumber nor is He surprised. This is why it is imperative that we get His message out - none of us know how long anyone will be on this earth but eternal life is certain. Live for Christ and share Him with others." What do you think about the bold words? Is G-d in control? Did He know in advance and do nothing to stop the shooting? Why would He allow this to occur if He knew about it in advance?

Arguments like this are used by nonbelievers to prove that G-d does not exist. Too often in an effort to protect G-d's omnipotence and omniscience, the Christian has to develop excuses for G-d. We hear that even though G-d knew it would occur, He has to allow for man's free will. These attributes of G-d were developed through Greek philosophy. They are not Biblical. What good does it do for us to ascribe to G-d all power and knowledge and then have to make excuses for Him? I suggest that a proper view of G-d will bring greater light on tragedies like what occurred last night.

Does G-d know the future? I suggest that He knows all that can be known. However, to say that He knows all and fails to act is to create a G-d that allows children to be molested, killed, and abused. A G-d that knows all and fails to act allows women to be abused without taking steps to help. I suggest that G-d does not sit on a high bubble seeing the future, the present, and the past at the same time. Instead, perhaps G-d sees the future as it unfolds much like a carpet is being unrolled. Consider the following illustration. I am wearing a yellow and green shirt today. Did G-d know yesterday that I would wear this shirt today? If He did, then I lost the free will to change my mind and wear a red one. If we believe in free will, then I must have the ability to change my mind.

Perhaps we should look at the shooting tragedy as the act of a sick human being. It is not G-d's fault. He was aware of the possibilities that lead to the event, but since they were only possibilities until actual choices were made, He was not culpable for those choices. Remember the words of YHVH to Abraham as he offered Yitshaq for sacrifice: "And He said, 'Do not lay your hand on the boy, nor touch him. For now I know that you fear Elohim, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.'" (Gen. 22:12) When did He know? He knew when it was apparent that Abraham would slay his son at G-d's command.

Our G-d can bring the most comfort to hurting hearts when we do not have to first explain His failure to act. Perhaps He hurts the most when we say He knew of the event, and failed to act. Our prayer is that the hurting hearts today will find true refuge in a G-d that loves them, and is not to blame.

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