Bree (13yo) asked: “Why does God allow death in the world?”
Last Wednesday We talked about Heaven, and today We’re going to talk about Death. But don’t be discouraged! For we Christians, death is necessary to reach Heaven. We believe that the joys of Heaven will compensate for the sufferings on earth.
Today’s message is my answer to Lydia and her daughter, Bree, who is 13. Bree, along with many teenagers, is struggling in her faith. When Lydia told me about it, I asked her to have Bree send me some of her own questions. Here you have them:
- Why does God allow death in the world?
- Where did God come from, and how was He alive before the time of the world?
The second question will have to wait until next week.
Reading over Bree’s first question, I noticed how well she had written it. Notice that the first word is, “Why.” The question, “Why” is our claim to God about the problem of evil. I do not know if it’s your case, but every time I see evil and suffering around me, I claim to God, “Why, Lord, why?” And Bree, who is 13 years old, with the intensity of feelings of the age, has just began to claim to God, “Why!”
Bree has a fine theology as well, she says, “God allows death.” That’s true. God allows death, and allows suffering and evil. But just because He allows these things does not mean He is the cause. We know that no evil is brought out from God because, “God is love” (1 John 4,16). So it seems that God, in his mysterious design of the world, can draw a greater good; even from evil.
The Bible, in the book of Genesis, explains why death entered in this good world. God created for us. God made us in his own image. He made us free to act good or bad, to love each other or to rebel against him and disobey him. When our first parents, Adam and Eve, failed and disobeyed God, evil entered the world. With this evil entered suffering, and death as well. So it seems clear that, for God, our freedom was worth the price of evil.
However, God had a plan to save us; He made himself human and lived among us. O, happy fault that earned for us so great, so glorious redeemer, the Lord Jesus! This may be the reason why God allowed such an evil happening to bring out a greater good therefrom. So, even if God had his reasons to allow evil, suffering, and death in the world, He was not indifferent to it; he sent us His son who went through evil, through suffering, and through the most horrible death, to destroy death for us.
Read with me the words of the Lord about death, in the story of Jairus’ daughter:
“All the people were wailing and mourning for her. ‘Stop wailing,’ Jesus said. ‘She is not dead but asleep.’” (Luke 8:52)
Although people laughed him to scorn, Jesus has just denied the existence of death, at least of death as the final word of life. He told us that our idea of death was all wrong, and that it would be better for us to call death the name of sleep. For death is just an instant of sleep from which Jesus is going to awaken us. Jesus went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” (John 11:11)
With such comforting words, we should not give death right to cause in us such misery.
Let me finish with the dialog about death between Pippin and Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings. Perhaps J.R.R. Tolkien had finally understood the answer to our, “Why,” and wanted to leave us a hint in his book.
PIPPIN: I didn’t think it would end this way.
GANDALF: End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.
PIPPIN: What? Gandalf? See what?
GANDALF: White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.
PIPPIN: Well, that isn’t so bad.
GANDALF: No. No, it isn’t.