Is God "Senseless"?
by Ken Gardner

I read recently in the obituary in the Dallas Morning News about a young man who was killed in an automobile accident. This 16-year-old high school student must have been a fine young man. Friends and relatives said he "always had a smile for everybody." He was a "popular student who was active in band, drama and the Boy Scout Explorer program." Family and friends were, of course, devastated by his death, and we extend to them our sympathy.

Tragic incidents like this should cause us to reflect a little. Hopefully, all of us, especially younger drivers, will try to drive a little more carefully and a bit more slowly. And we should also consider the brevity of life, that all of us are "standing on the brink of eternity." Our main purpose in life is to make preparation for the life to come. Many need to be "shaken up," and we pray they will "come to their senses" and be faithful Christians.

However, we need to be careful that we don't jump to the wrong conclusions or leave the wrong impressions. I know we all say things we really don't mean when we're upset, and none of us would ever criticize anyone who is grieving the loss of a loved one. But we do need to remind ourselves not to blame God in times of bereavement. Of course, it's true that God is all-powerful and the God works providentially in our world today. But to put it quite simply, that are some things that God cannot do. We're "free moral agents," as we often say, and God cannot make us voluntarily choose good over evil. Furthermore, we live in a physical world where physical laws, such as the law of gravity, dictate, at least to some extent, what happens. If we are aware of and respect these natural laws then all is well and good. But if we are careless, then the consequences can be severe.

Consider this statement made by the young man's older brother, as he commented on his brother's death: "It's senseless. . . . I guess God felt it was his time to go and saw fit to take him." Again, we don't mean to be overly critical, and we extend our condolences to all who are bereaved, but it needs to be stated that God didn't take this young man's life. Now it is true that his death was senseless. He was riding with his friend who was trying to see if his mother's car would go 90 m.p.h. He lost control of the car, and it slammed into a tree. God did not "feel it was his time to go," nor did God "see fit to take him". No, instead it was a sixteen-year-old who "felt it was time" to speed and he was the one who "saw fit" to drive recklessly, and as a result a teenager died.

Again, I don't mean to be overly critical, and I'm sure the older brother didn't really mean to accuse God of being senseless. But let's remind ourselves to (1) refrain from blaming God and (2) be careful what we say.