Where was God? Where is he now? These are questions I see reoccurring in social media and editorials concerning the recent school shootings. The obvious assumption about these questions, is that what happened in Connecticut was bad, and it was. It was truly awful. But why go so far as to get angry with God? One editorial reads:
If you believe in a God who is all powerful and all good, then covering up for the Almighty at a time like this is in my view deeply unfaithful. Today is a day to shake your fist at heaven and demand answers, and then to shake it harder when no answers are forthcoming. To do anything else is in my view to diminish the idea of God, and to cheapen faith in the process.
If you don’t believe in the existence of any god, then why does “bad things” happening matter at all? If “there is no God,” then, to quote Douglas Wilson, “s**t happens. Get over it.” The most hysterical practical claim of the atheist is “There is no God, and I hate him.” If you think that there is no God because of all the suffering bad stuff in this world, does that mean that there is a God because of all the pleasure and good stuff in this world? You see that argument is self defeating.
Either God is omnipotent or he is not. If he is not, then what happens doesn’t matter and can’t be traced back to him anyway. If God has no foreknowledge and no control over anything that happens then why are we mad at God? Are you mad at your neighbor when something in your life goes wrong and your neighbor had nothing to do with it? Then why get upset at God? He is just as innocent in the matter as you are.
If God is omnipotent and omniscient, then the things he can do and does are beyond our comprehension. But you can’t have it both ways. You can’t have a God who is both omnipotently omniscient and comprehensible. Either God is not omnipotently omniscient, and therefore comprehensible, or he is both omnipotently omniscient and incomprehensible. Either God’s all-knowingness exceeds our knowledge, understanding, and comprehensibility, or he is not all-knowing. And that’s the problem. People want to shake their fists at God for being omnipotent because he doesn’t get our permission before he acts. Those people act and think out of an inconsistent (incoherent?) assumption. Since when did God have to play by human rules? When did God have to to start answering to the human inquisition? God doesn’t ask for our opinion before he makes a decision, as his knowledge and power infinitely surpass any human, it is ludicrous to suggest otherwise.
So we are left with only one conclusion: Someone who is omnipotent and omniscient has his reasons for doing things that are beyond our comprehension. And there is the real root of the problem. We don’t like what we can’t define, understand, or control. And so, rather than accept the omnipotence of God as incomprehensible, we want to stand in the face of God and shake our fists, like petulant children we demand an answer and a reason “Why” when God is under no obligation to respond. In such cases the answer often, aptly, returns from God, “Because I said so.” And whether we like it or not, whether we deem it satisfactorily or not, whether we judge it fair or not, such an answer from an all-powerful and all-knowing Creator is good enough.