A Christian Response to the Boston Marathon Bombing 4

We’re all mourning Monday’s attack on innocent people at the Boston Marathon. Three were killed and over a hundred wounded. Some lost one or both legs.

Our two primary questions now are who and why. Who would do such a thing? What were they trying to accomplish? Hopefully, we will soon find out and justice will prevail.

On reflection, various other questions come to mind:

  • Why does such evil continue in the world?
  • What can we do to prevent future occurrences?
  • Why didn’t God stop this tragedy?

These are the same questions that always come up. They were asked about the Newtown massacre. And the Columbine shooting. And 9/11. And the Holocaust. They arise because there are no clear and easy answers for an event that seems so wrong.


Why didn’t God stop it?

This question is usually asked by people who say they don’t believe in God. Their assumption is that if God exists and has infinite power, He would prevent such tragedies.

That’s a false assumption, of course, that is easily answered. Two important parts of that answer are:

  • God allows people to have free will, which is ultimately motivated by His love. (I wrote about this subject last November in the series “Dealing with Disaster”.) He allows us to make our own choices, good or bad, and the results can be wonderful or horrific.
  • We have no way of knowing how many tragedies God has prevented. Does He not prevent any tragedies? Half of them? 90% of them? Did He prevent dozens of deaths and thousands of injuries in Boston? We’ll never know.

God may prevent some bad things from happening, but stopping every wrong choice isn’t in line with His ultimate purposes.


What can we do to prevent it?

It appears that we are seeing an increase in the number, frequency, and impact of this kind of event. People have always committed atrocities, but the situation seems to be growing worse.

Why haven’t our educational improvements turned the tide? Certainly a huge number of guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens should stop violence, right? Shouldn’t the economic upturn have helped? Perhaps we need to do more to treat mental illness.

I’m being facetious, of course. None of these are actual solutions. We know that because none of them address the root problem. And the root problem is that evil continues to flourish. We’ll never do anything about destructive tragedies without dealing with the problem of human evil.


Why do we still experience so much evil?

After at least thousands of years of human history, why do we experience so much evil in the world? Shouldn’t we have improved to the point of reducing or even eradicating the desire to do wrong? Why do bad things happen to good people?

One reason is that Satan is still alive and working, and he is bent on as much destruction as possible. Another is that every person still has a sin nature, and those who let their desires take control can perpetrate some extremely violent actions.

But is it possible that God causes evil to occur to fit His purposes? That’s a question I’ll take up in tomorrow’s article.


What do you think explains the abundant evil in the world today?


Photo by Aaron Tang

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4 thoughts on “A Christian Response to the Boston Marathon Bombing

  • Elizabeth

    I hope God does not cause evil to occur to fit His purposes. That would be very sad. If you think that, I hope you can explain to me (and others) how we could accept this is true and is a good or necessary thing.

  • bob burger

    does God create evil ? I don’t see anything to suggest that he does , so I agree with your statement . does God allow evil to occur ? yes he does as in the case of Job , the Babylon captivity , and many other examples in his word . why does he allow it ? sometimes we can see it in life and in the bible and other times we can’t , but rest assured he always has good reason to allow it . could he stop it ? yes , anytime he wants to and one day he is going to do just that . man is a fallen creature . man has a sin nature . man has a free will . man has these traits whether he is a believer or not . if all men would choose to believe and all would do the will of God , this would all stop . and someday it will . this is a big question for all of us . in the mean time , we all need to keep praying . we need to share the gospel with everyone we can and we all need to do our best to be as Christ like as possible . the rest is all up to God .