All over the world the main topic of discussion is the Japan tragedy, and now we learn that the worst is yet to come. Both Christian and non-Christian people are confused. People can’t understand how a “good” God could allow thousands upon thousands of innocent people to be killed. It is not necessary to present another theological or philosophical debate to explain what, and why, these things happen, or to try and justify God; John Piper has done that; and Brian McLaren’s philanthropic love has cornered the market on empathy. With those bases covered the question of “why?” still remains, and will not go away. After the prayers are over, and the aid exhausted, the mothers, fathers, and children, who have lost so much, return to their homes, and keep asking, “Why?”
Christians don’t have to have all the answers, but answers help, especially now; and you can do no better than opening up the Bible.
How do we balance the mercy and love of God, with His justice? I say “we” because God doesn’t do a balancing act, nor does He juggle His emotions, trying to keep some kind of equilibrium between good and evil. God is God, even when we don’t understand Him. God is perfect, and man confused; it is man that walks the tight rope wanting to know “why?” It is “we” who are out of balance and stumble, proposing our question in hopelessness, when the answer is right there, in the Book. God has spoken!
God has anticipated the question and has included the answer, in His book of answers, the Bible. We will look in vain going anywhere else.
Luke. 13:1-9 says everything that needs to be said for those who want the truth.
“Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, ‘Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them — do you think they were guiltier than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.’”
Then he told this parable:
“A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ ‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I'll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”
It was generally accepted by the Jews of that time, and many today, that if something bad happens to a person it is because of sin in their life. In other words if a building falls on you, you must have been very bad. Jesus’ simple answer was, no, that isn’t true. “But, unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” So, Jesus’ answer to the Japan disaster is, no, God did not cause this disaster, but He did allow it, and “unless you repent you will likewise perish.” The parable that follows, which most people overlook when considering the above passage, sheds some light on the matter. What some will see here is a mean natured God; others will see a God of mercy.
By looking closely we discover that the wrong question is being asked. They, and we, ask “why did God do this or allow this to happen?” By understanding the parable and what Jesus is trying to teach us we understand that the question should be, Why does a perfectly “just” God tolerate anyone to live, why doesn’t He destroy all mankind, not just allow a few to die in accidents? The answer is “MERCY.”
In the parable God is the owner of the tree and Jesus is the gardener, who asks for mercy on the tree, for a period of time, to try and make the tree fruitful. God is a merciful God who has waited and waited and waited, but His justice cannot wait forever; justice must prevail.
It is precisely because of accidents that the preaching of the Gospel is so important. How long will God’s mercy be put off, the Bible says, “Today when you hear his voice, don't harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled,” Heb. 3:15? And, this is precisely why the message of Brian McLaren and Rob Bell, and the whole camp of the neo-liberal “Emergents” is a death sentence for anyone caught in their web of deceit. They destroy the justice of God and leave the question of “why” unanswered, and hide poor sinners from the mercy of a Father who will wait, till He can wait no longer.
Come home, poor sinner;
Why longer roam,
Thy Savior’s calling,
“Come home, come home!”
He died to save you
Behold what suff’ring!
’Twas all for thee.
Oh, come to Jesus,
Do not delay;
Come, and He’ll save you;
Come while you may.
Oh, come to Jesus;
He’s waiting still
With His salvation,
Thy soul to fill.
Oh, come to Jesus;
How can you stay,
He’s pleading, pleading;
Come, come today.