That’s what a lot of people are asking after the horrific Connecticut school shooting on Friday, Dec. 14th, 2012. Like a lot of pastors, I will be tackling this question head on this Sunday so I am offering the outline to my sermon with a few brief points of explanation.
The question is simply a summary of the philosophical problem of evil. if God is good, loving and powerful then why does he allow such events to occur.
When answering this question, we first have to learn how to respond in the immediate aftermath of such a horrific tragedy. The hours after such staggering loss are not the time for philosophical digression Instead we should respond by praying for those who have been affected, weeping with those whose lives have been shattered and standing up and denouncing such acts as an evil that will be judged by God. In short, we need to be ready to empathize and minister to those who have been affected. However, there does come a time when we have to answer the questions people are asking.
When responding to the problem of evil we have to be quick to affirm what we do know. Answers that attempt to reconcile the problem of evil with the existence of God that deny his sovereignty, power, knowledge and goodness are ultimately unhelpful. We must stand firm on what Scripture reveals about the nature and person of God, but we also have to humbly admit what we don’t know. We don’t know why God allows these events to come pass nor how they will ultimately be worked out, but we can readily affirm that these events are awful manifestations of rebellion against God’s revealed will and will somehow be used for good in God’s plans and purposes.
We also have to be very honest about the evil that resides within each of us. Those who wish for God to eradicate all evil are asking for more than they know. For God to eradicate evil, he would have to eradicate humanity, for there is evil in the heart of every one of us (Jeremiah 17:9).
School shootings are terrible reminders that this is a dark and sinful world that is not as God created it. If the church is going to shine as a light in this world we have to be able to answer the tough questions at times like this. Hopefully this Sunday’s sermon will equip us to do so.
You can find the outlines here