September 11 eve (September 10) brings with it a heavy weight for those who lost love ones in the destruction of the World Trade Center collapse, the Pentagon attack, along with those who courageously stopped the plane hijack of United Airlines 93 that was en route towards the Capitol, sacrificing their lives so others may live . There's a sober reminder in the air that this life brings a painful sting of death due to sin. Tomorrow is not guaranteed and lives are but a vapor. Much of what we do in this life is vanity. Filled with pointless pursuits. But it doesn't have to be that way. Tomorrow will mark 20 years of commemoration of a world at war on terrorism and also serves as the 20th anniversary of 9/11 events. Let us not lose sight of the greater good news and continue to proclaim the saving power of Christ.
It's hard to imagine a nation or a society without war. War and rumors of wars plague this current society and nation just like in the beginning. Human nature hasn't changed even if the times have. September 11 should have taught us this much. Yet, the perseverance of the human soul is profound. It's malleability and strength is truly remarkable, a mark of creator-ship by God. It's amazing to think that suffering produces endurance. On September 11, the American public joined together as did several nations with the unified belief that the oppressive and violent regime of Islam and terrorism had to be stopped. The world was once again at war.
Among the many questions that surfaced in the wake of the terrorist attacks was "If God is loving, how can evil be allowed to exist?" This question is even among God's followers. It's a question that spurns from doubt. The answer to cycled question lies in evaluation of God's nature, human free will, and the moral code of objective truth.
Philosophers with prestigious degrees will argue that since evil exists, God cannot be omnipotent, or even omniscient. They build their case on what is called theodicy (justifying God for the existence of evil), much like John Stuart Mill and his contemporaries. Most of these philosophical giants evade the question of how morality came to be moral in the first place or even avoid the mention of the fall of humanity so the blame is off of themselves. However, this doesn't answer the moral dilemma: why evil exists. If human free will was studied accurately and unbiasedly, the evidence would show that sin is the culprit for the existence of evil since everyone (yes, even Christians) commit evil. Good intentions do not exist apart from God because human nature is fallen (mentioned in Genesis 3).
Aside from the biblical references, moral code needs objectivity to be considered moral and this was evaluated by C.S. Lewis across many different culture groups. His evaluation showed that no matter the culture, they held the belief that murder, theft, adultery, et cetera were wrong. Why? Because of the conscious that God gave to humans. Humans are not capable of objectivity apart from wisdom imparted from God. Worship of subjective truth is what leads to terrorist attacks, genocide (a fancy term for wide-scale murder), theft, et cetera.They all have the same motive: self. Put plainly, evil exists out of the result of human free will choosing sin over God's commandment. And Islam was born out of rebellion of Sarah and Abraham choosing to have a child on their own terms rather than God. Ishmael's descendants paved the way for the evil radicalism we know today as Islam.
Even in spite of human failure, God created a way back to him by Jesus' sacrifice on the cross 4,000 years ago that healed the spiritual gap that was left by sin. There is nothing we can do to earn our way to heaven and this should come as a relief because if salvation relied upon us, heaven would cease to exist and morality would be the fluke of imagination. The greater good news is that an objective, eternally holy being took the penalty of sin (death) and conquered death, fulfilling the moral law. The terrorist attacks that ravished so many lives and a nation were the spawn of evil. Yet, it was allowed by God. We see this several times in scripture. Joseph's brothers were allowed to sell him into slavery (Genesis 37), Egypt was allowed to oppress Israel (seen in the book of Exodus), Babylon was allowed to capture Israel for a season (mentioned in Jeremiah 20), et cetera. God allows evil to shift focus off of the temporal and onto the eternal.
Nothing escapes God's knowledge (2 Chronicles 16:9, 1 Samuel 16:7, Proverbs 16:2, Acts 15:8, Hebrews 4:13, etc). Sin will not go unpunished, even if it is allowed for a season. As the 20 year commemoration of September 11 unfolds tomorrow, let it be a reminder that even though suffering is endured in this life, there is an eternal security in God that surpasses this life and unable to be vanquished for eternity.
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