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God has already given us the answer to our question for tragedy – God lets bad stuff happen because He is good. Without the goodness of God there would not be any free choice for you and me. We would be like robots, serving God by His will alone, and not our choice. The fact that a good God, who owns the patent on “free will,” has created and gifted man with that same free will, means that we have the capacity to choose between good and evil. And we do…and we always gravitate towards evil.


Rabbi Kushner in his book, When Bad Things Happen to Good People, came to the conclusion that God is not all-powerful. The Rabbi’s young son had died, and the grief was too great. He came to the conclusion that God was either not good, or He could not control everything; some things were out of God’s hands. To his credit, Kushner chose to believe that God is good, but not all-powerful. The problem with the Rabbi’s thinking (and the title of his book) is that there is no such thing as “good” people. The Bible declares it,

There is none righteous, no not one. – Romans 3.10


For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. -- Romans 3.23


Jesus put an exclamation on it:

17As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. -- Mark 10:17 - 18


If we change the title of Rabbi Kushner’s book to agree with the theology of Scripture, it becomes, When Bad Things Happen to Bad People; most of us then don’t even bother to pick up the book out of curiosity. We already know the answer to that one.

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