Friday, September 18, 2015
Identifying one reason why humans suffer, the Bible states: "Time and unexpected events overtake them all." (Ecclesiastes 9:11) When unanticipated events or accidents happen, whether someone is affected or not depends to a large extent on where he is at the time they occur. Nearly 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ spoke of a calamity involving 18 people who were killed when a tower fell on them. (Luke 13:1-5) They did not become victims because of the way they had lived their lives; they were simply under the tower when it happened to fall. More recently, a devastating earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010; the Haitian government says that over 300,000 lives were lost. All those lives claimed without regard for who the individuals were. Illnesses too can strike anyone at any time.
Some might ask: 'Could not God prevent such deadly calamities from happening? Could he not shield the good people from the calamity?' For God to intervene in such ways, it would mean that he knows about bad things before they happen. While God certainly has the ability to foreknow the future, the question we need to consider is this: Does God choose to exercise to a limitless extent his power to foreknow such things? --Isaiah 42:9.
The Scriptures say: "God is in the heavens; he does whatever he pleases." (Psalm 115:3) Jehovah does what he deems necessary to do- not everything he is capable of doing. That applies also to what he decides to foresee. For example, after wickedness became prevalent in the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, God told the patriarch Abraham: "I will go down to see whether they are acting according to the outcry that has reached me. And if not, I can get to know it." (Genesis 18:20, 21) For a time, Jehovah chose not to know the extent of the wickedness in those cities. Similarly, then, Jehovah can choose not to foreknow everything. (Genesis 22:12) In no way is this an indication of imperfection or weakness on his part. Since "perfect is his activity," God balances his ability to foreknow the future with his purpose; he never forces humans to follow a certain course. (Deuteronomy 32:4) What, then, may we conclude? Simply this: God's exercise of foreknowledge is selective and discretionary.
By any measure, Shirley Batchelder has lived a long, "fantastic" life.
At 94 years old, she paints, dons pink flowers in her hair, spends time with family, and runs bingo with her friends. She was married for 57 years to a curly-haired man who was "handsome as can be," she told WSMV channel 4 News, and is accepting visits from friendly strangers at Steeple Chase Manor retirement home.
Although Shirley's had a great life, she had one remaining item on her bucket list this past summer.
What were the three words Shirley wanted to share?
Since God is the creator of all things and is almighty, many people may be inclined to hold him responsible for everything that takes place in the world, including all that is bad. However, consider what the Bible says about the true God:
- "Jehovah is righteous in all his ways." --Psalm 145:17.
- "All his (God's) ways are justice. A God of faithfulness who is never unjust; righteous and upright is he." --Deuteronomy 32:4.
- "Jehovah is very tender in affection and merciful." --James 5:11.
God does not cause bad things to happen. Does he, though, incite others to commit vile deeds? Not at all. "When under trial," state the Scriptures, "let no one say: 'I am being tried by God.' "Why? Because "with evil things God cannot be tried, nor does he himself try anyone." (James 1:13) God does not try, or test, anyone by inciting him to behave badly. God neither causes bad things to happen nor incites others to do what is bad. Who or what, then, is to blame when bad things happen?