Monday, December 15, 2014

Why Do Bad Things Happen?

It seems that every time I watch the news, there are wars, atrocities, terrorism, kidnappings, natural disasters, diseases (such as ebola), violent crimes, riots, and other forms of mayhem. The earthquake, drought, wildfires, and flooding in California in 2014 are reminders of how vulnerable we are to natural disasters. Why do these bad things happen?

The earth is fallen, meaning it is imperfect as a result of the Fall in the Garden of Eden. Likewise, humans are fallen, meaning we have a strong propensity to do wrong. Examples of such evil-doing are:
-ISIS fanatics invading Iraq and killing many innocent people;
-Putin’s land grab from Ukraine;
-Hamas targeting Israeli civilians with ongoing rocket attacks, and using Palestinian civilians as human shields;
-Syria’s Assad’s lack of caring about his own people;
-The repressive North Korean regime.

ISIS is barbaric and should be destroyed, but such barbarism is can be seen throughout history. One would hope we have moved on to a more civilized existence, yet we see terrible acts still occurring. In addition to the list above, just in the 20th Century we’ve seen huge numbers of people killed by Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Mao Zedong, and other dictators. So much for evolution of humanity to ever higher levels.

Sadly, groups have raided or invaded land belonging to other groups on a regular basis as long as humans have been on the earth. Look at the history of Russia. Hoards from the East (Mongols, Tatars, Alans, and other groups) regularly invaded peaceful peasants in what is now Russia and Ukraine. European nations have been either fighting each other or battling outside invaders (such as Huns and Ottomans) for many centuries. It seems that the natural state of humankind is war.

I think history clearly demonstrates the sinful nature of humanity. Those who say humans are intrinsically good and became evil due to a corrupt society are wrong. Humanity has a hereditary flaw: the strong propensity to sin. In Calvinist theology that propensity to sin is called “The Total Depravity of Man.” This “depravity” resulted from The Fall and is passed down from generation to generation. We are saved from that “depravity” only by the grace of God.

What our job should be is to do whatever we can to make the earth a better place in which to live. We can’t prevent these bad things from happening, but we should be helping victims of natural disasters, caring for the needy, and being peacemakers within our own sphere of influence. Don’t give in to temptation but do good rather than evil. Live according to biblical principles.

Until Christ comes again in glory, the hope Christians have is a new earth in the End Times in which evil will no longer have a place for 1,000 years. Now that’s something to look forward to!

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