IN THE WAKE OF THE BOSTON MARATHON MASSACRE: Why didn’t God stop it?

by Frank L. Jordan III

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Franklin Monument in Boston; photo by F. Jordan III

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The following is a letter to the editors of The Boston Globe, The Virginian-Pilot, and the Daily Press:

Dear Editor,

Another act of terror has occurred in yet another one of our beloved American cities. What may come to be known as the Boston Marathon Massacre raises yet again that age-old question, “Why didn’t God stop it?”

The few times I’ve experienced the life-altering presence of God, its defining feature was pure unconditional love—the very opposite of what motivated the bombings. So if God is against such acts of evil, then why do they occur?

I am convinced that prevailing attitudes about the nature of God’s power and how it actually works need to be revised in order to better understand God’s response to tragic events like those in Boston. Could it just not be the nature of God’s power to ever work from the outside in, but always from the inside out—never to someone, but always through them? Could the multifaceted barriers between us and God be solely within our natures alone, and for complex reasons become very real obstacles to God’s fully exerted power?

If the answers to these two questions are yes, then it could help us to understand why God doesn’t stop such heinous acts. The answer is that God does everything within his power to stop them. The pure Love of God isn’t withholding anything. But we tend to define what God’s power is, how it operates, and the results it accomplishes by our own criteria. We imagine God to work in a certain way, and we expect certain results.

But what if we’re mistaken?

Frank L. Jordan III

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