Tsunamis, tragedy, and God:
Where is our Father when his children hurt?
Dr. Jim Denison
Why does a good God allow bad things to happen to good people? The tragedy of tsunamis, earthquakes, landslides, and hurricanes are only the most recent events to call into question God’s love, his power, or both. September 11, 2001, and the Holocaust of the previous generation, are equally problematic for those who believe God is all-powerful and all-loving. And each of us bears our own burdens, faces our own suffering and pain. A college professor said to me, “Son, be kind to everyone, because everyone’s having a hard time.”
What is the question?
In theological language, we are dealing with the issue of “theodicy” (from Greek words for God–theos, and justice–duke). “Theodicy” was coined by the philosopher Wilhelm Leibniz in 1710. He defined his term, “The question of the compatibility of metaphysical, physical, and moral evil in the present world order with the justice and absolute power of God” (Leibniz, Theodicee, my translation).