Subject: r.e. Haiti
Dear Chris – God has received your question and has asked me to respond to it on his behalf. As you know, God does not speak to his children directly but instead chooses to use normal natural means of communication: Scripture, the Church, other people, etc. In this case, he has allowed me, one of his ‘messengers’ to answer this email. Please do not expect this to become a regular occurrence – you know how it works. Anyway, the simple answer to your question is, “Free will requires a free world.”
Subject: r.e. Haiti
Wow! Thank you for your response. I really didn’t expect any answer. I was just upset and was kind of tossing my email into the Ethernet. Thank you for your answer. I still am a bit stuck, though, on the “why?” question. I know in my head what you mean when you say, “Free will requires a free world.” I had all the philosophy and have heard all the different arguments for why suffering is allowed to happen. I understand that in order for us to be completely free to make choices in our lives and to choose freely to love God or not to love God that we must live in a free creation. I know that God created us in his image meaning that he gave us, his creatures, the very freedom of self-determination that He possesses. I know that He wants us all to come to him but to choose to do so and not be manipulated at all by his direct intervention in our lives meaning that we have to live in a free world, meaning that bad things like earthquakes and fires and cancer are going to happen to people out of just sheer randomness. I know that. Yet, it’s just “why Haiti?” That country and those people already had so much suffering and misery in their lives and they were probably one of the countries in the world that is least able to deal with a catastrophe on this level. Look at all the children who died there! Do they really need to suffer more? Couldn’t God have intervened this one time?
Subject: r.e. Haiti
Yes, the people of Haiti have suffered under poverty and corruption for years. Is that God’s fault or man’s fault? But even beyond that question, if one uses your logic one could say it would have been better for the earthquake to happen in let’s say, Bermuda because Bermuda has not suffered like Haiti and would be better able to recover. Does this seem reasonable? But, again, your argument requires that there be a controlling agency behind natural disasters and accidents and that is not the case. Natural disasters like this just happen. Accidents just happen. This randomness in kind leads to a randomness of suffering. What happened in Haiti happened for no reason. They are not being punished. They are not less beloved of God. It just happened. There is no decision making process behind who suffers and who does not. The randomness of suffering on this level is part of the very brokenness of creation.
Your question also depends on the premise that God should place a greater value on the suffering of some over the suffering of others. You mentioned the children who died in Haiti as part of the suffering that is too much. Can one place any judgment on suffering and say that this in this case it is too much? Do you think a mother in Boston who has lost a child to cancer feels less grief or suffers less than the mother in Haiti who lost a child in the earthquake? Why would one mother’s loss be somehow worse than the others? God knows the suffering of each and everyone of his children when and where it happens. Think about it. As God knows everything is He not aware of all of the children all over the world that will suffer or die in one day? Do not those numbers dwarf those of Haiti? Then why intervene in just Haiti? It is obviously the magnitude of the numbers in Haiti that draws your attention, but God sees all the numbers and God is not indifferent to this suffering.
(to be continued)