JOHN PEARRELL: The Bible explains why God allows bad things to happen

On this 10th anniversary of the horrific attacks of 9/11, the accusations against God once again will come to the forefront.

There are those who claim that such calamities prove that God doesn't exist. They hold that if there was a God, wars would not be fought, places like Nazi Germany or Stalin's Russia or Mao's China would not have existed, and the twin towers would still be standing.

The normal question "Where was God when tragedies happen?" is a question I will address this Sunday, Sept. 11. But, in this column, rather than dealing with that question, I want to ask a few questions of my own.

First, why does God always get the blame when men do bad things? Second, why doesn't He get the credit when men do good things?

When an evil person commits a heinous crime, whether it is a school shooting, crashing planes into buildings or some other act of extreme hostility, no one is saying, "Why do men do evil things?" Rather, they exclaim, "These evil acts prove that God does not exist."

Frankly, in logic and debate, such an argument is fallacious. The illusion that allows us to condemn God when men do evil things is the illusion that men, left to themselves, are basically good. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Bible says, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," (Romans 3:23, NIV). And, "As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one."" (Romans 3:10-12, NIV).

And Jeremiah reminds us, ""Who can understand the human heart? There is nothing else so deceitful; it is too sick to be healed." (Jeremiah 17:9, GNT).

We do not like to hear or to face the proven reality of these biblical observations, and so to our own peril, we discount the truth and believe a lie of our own making: namely, that we are basically good, and any evil that comes about is an aberration in behavior. Since these aberrations occur, ipso facto, there can be no God.

Poor logic, indeed.

To add insult to injury, when bad people do bad things, we blame God, but when bad people happen to do good things, no one thinks, "Ha! That proves that there must be a God."

No, instead we take the credit and go on believing the illusion foisted upon us by decades of humanistic teachings -- that man himself is the measure of all things. As long as we persist in that illusion, we will go from bad to worse.

If you find yourself wondering why God allows such bad things to happen, or whether or not the bad things that happen do in fact disprove Him, do yourself a favor: suspend your preconceived notions and give the Bible a chance to speak for itself.

You might begin by simply saying, "OK, God, I don't know if you are really there or not, but if you are, I am going to give you a chance to reveal yourself to me."

Then, may I suggest that you begin your search for truth with the Gospel of John in the New Testament?You might be surprised to learn that so much of what you believed to be true about Christianity really wasn't true in the first place.

Dr. John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church in Covington, GA. For more information visit the Gateway website at www.gatewaycommunity.org.