On 9/11

This piece originally appeared as an editorial in “From Death to Life” Issue 21 Oct / Dec 2001 and is being reposted as we approach the anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy.

The recent terrorist attacks on America have profoundly altered the way not only Americans but all of us see the world. I herad that in the weeks following the disaster many churches had people come whose hearts and minds had been turned to God by these events . And all over the world peoples’ hearts and minds are struggling with this issue: “Where was God?” “How can a God of love and power allow such things to happen?”

I would not want to minimise in any way the enormity of the tragedy that has directly affected nearly 6000 people [the death toll turned out to be 2993 – ed.] and their families and friends , and indirectly affects us all, but there are some biblical truths that we must hold on to at a time like this:

1. God originally created the world and all that was in it “very good” (Gen. 1:31).

2. The crown and pinnacle of this good creation was humanity made in the image of God and capable of exercising free will (Gen. 1:26-29);

3. The whole world is now fallen and bound over to sin (Gen. 3, Rom. 8:18-39).

4. There is a new world coming, free from the curse, sin and death (Rev. 21:1 c.f. 2 Pet. 3:7-13).

Again, without wanting to minimise the pain of those most directly involved it is interesting that such an event should trigger outrage the world over – that 6000 [2993 -ed.] soils can be subject to sudden death in a fiery inferno – and yet at the same time we are asked to accept as a matter of Gospel truth that God will condemn untold millions to suffer conscious pain in the fires of hell forever and ever, without end. Will there ever be an end to pain and suffering?

Absolutely! The Bible has an answer to the problem of evil! Evil will not go on forever! Our hope is that when God’s program of salvation for people is completed all the children of god together will experience a glorious freedom from sin, Satan and death and decay.

Creation itself will be “liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.” (Rom. 8:22). Just as God’s plan for individuals is that they become a “new creation” (2Cor. 5:17, Gal. 6:15), all of creation will be restored to its original Edenic harmony (Isa. 11:6-8). We are told in Revelation 20 that a time is coming when God will call every rebellious sinner into judgment and destroy eveil forever. We are told there will be a “new heaven and a new earth” (Rev. 21:1 c.f. 2Pet. 3:7-13). For those who trust in God we are told in Revelation 21:4 that there will be “no more mourning , crying, or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. Revelation 22:3 promises that the Curse will be done away with!

Meanwhile in Romans 8:18 Paul says, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” In 2 Cor. 4:17 Paul says: “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. ” Again in Romans 8:28 God promises he will work together with us in every situation to bring about our ultimate good.

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