On free will [Ask an Anti-Skeptic]
Why would God let something like that happen? How is that a part of God’s plan?
I think we need to remember two really important lessons from Scripture when thinking about this. First is the existence of Satan. We don’t talk about him much, but the Bible teaches that when Satan was cast out of God’s presence, he was sent to earth. Earth then became a sort of battleground between God and Satan. So when we think that God is in control, ordaining everything that happens, that’s not exactly the whole picture. Satan has some control too, and he is trying to mess with God’s plans by bringing chaos and destruction wherever he can. We are not living in a perfect world with a God who just likes to torture us with bad things: we are living on a battleground, and their are casualties because of this. Sometimes it doesn’t seem fair, but that’s just how things are.
Second, remember that God has a plan for our lives, but he also gave us free will. He wants the best for us, but he doesn’t force us to do anything. When we choose to do drugs, we are choosing Satan’s path of destruction over God’s path of life, and sometimes those choices have consequences.
This kid I was talking too also mentioned he had a friend die in a car accident. I asked him, ‘Would you rather that nobody be allowed to drive cars?’ Sometimes, for the sake of our freedom, bad things happen. Would having no freedom be a better option? We have the freedom to listen to God’s voice, or Satan’s voice: God’s path, or Satan’s path. We make the choices, and we have to live with them.
Fortunately, even when we screw up, that’s not the end of the story. God made a way for us to reverse our bad decisions, and come to know him. He also has a plan of redeeming creation and resurrecting us to new life, to live with him in his new kingdom, where he says he will set a table for us with our enemies. God is working on a project of building a peaceful world, and not even death can stop him.
So in the midst of our hurts, we can have hope that we will see our friends again, and that death will not have the final word. Is there any other way of looking at a friend’s death that doesn’t end in despair?
At least God’s plan has hope.
Finally, I asked him what his favorite movie was. He mentioned that it was Forrest Gump. I asked him if Forrest Gump would be interesting if nothing bad happened in it. He said ‘probably not.’
Bad things can happen in good stories. You don’t judge a story by the bad things that happen in the middle: you judge it by how it ends. And our ending is still to come.