I am sending a letter of response to the On Faith column published by Pastor Mark Wiley on Aug. 2 titled "Thoughts on God, the shooting and love." Thankfully, God in this case was in caps. There are many areas of disagreement, but as a reformed Christian, I want to focus on what I believe is the most egregious error in this case when it comes to an attribute of God, on which, among true Christians, there should be no argument, and that relates to the Almighty God's omnipotence.
True, Christianity leaves no room for error in this regard. He is the Creator and Sustainer of the entire universe, which, in and of itself, should cast no doubt on His power over everything He has created, yes, even every one of His creatures, even man Himself. He can withhold His power if He chooses to do so, and the horror that took place in Aurora is one of many horrors throughout history where he apparently has done so. Why, we often ask, would a loving God not intervene? I have no argument with "God is love", not "If…," as was stated, but He "is" and will always be. The other side of the coin relates to God's righteousness, His holiness, which is too often not acknowledged in the "Christian" faith. Ignoring this side of God is what gets man in trouble, and with that can come the horror and immense tragedy seen recently in Aurora. God will judge all evil, according to His timetable worked out before His creation of the world, for He is also a just and righteous God. Has He not said and is it not written, "Vengeance is Mine"?
The answer to "Why would a loving God allow bad things to happen?" is impossible to understand for anyone who does not know and understand who this God truly is as revealed in His Word, Holy Scripture, and through the Word Incarnate His only begotten Son, who was sent into the world to take away the sins of men, women and children who would put their faith and trust in Him as their Lord and Redeemer.
It was at that very cross on Calvary almost 2,000 years ago that the most innocent Man, the God-Man, gave up His life, according to the will of God His Father. God didn't stop this because His will to save those who would believe was the greater good in this case, but the God-Man would be resurrected, His role in redemption fulfilled but his role in judgment yet to come. Ironically, in the Old Testament, the prophet Isaiah would write under divine inspiration in chapter 53 verse 10, "Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him" and verse 11, "He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge my righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities." Here we have side-by-side both the horror and the beauty of the gospel of Christ laid out before us some seven centuries before Christ became a Man.
And so we might then ask, what was God thinking of then and throughout His-story when it comes to tragedies in the minds of men? We need to ask if we have no understanding of the cross of Christ, for it is when we truly understand God's intention that perhaps we can better understand that God's "thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways not our ways." He is God and we are not, which pains some of us to admit, and He alone is eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, immutable and perfect in all His ways and has a plan worked out from eternity past that will proceed undeterred for good or evil. His will be done, and in the end, when good finally wins over evil, this God will be glorified forever. Thank God for His sovereignty over sin-infested humanity. Thank Him even more for sending us His Son to cover the "iniquities" of those who would believe and turn from their evil ways to the One Way of salvation.
These are not one man's opinions, but truths extracted from the Word of God. What is not true and what is an opinion of falsehood too often espoused today even in many "Christian" churches throughout the world is that God is too impotent to stop the horrors of evil. This is a heresy of the highest order, for it makes an accusation against the omnipotent God who will allow "free" men to continue in their sin, as He has done throughout the recorded history of mankind, beginning with Cain over his brother Abel.
RICHARD M. ROTH is a Huntington Beach resident.