Is it an “Act of God” when bad things happen, or an act of man?

In The Shack, the movie, Wisdom asks the man who lost his daughter to a serial killer, who was to blame for the girl’s death. Did the blame stop at the door of the deranged killer, or did it go back to the killer’s parents who messed up his childhood, or to the killer’s grandparents who messed up his parents’ lives? Or did this awful thread of insanity and evil in the family DNA get started many generations before that, going all the way back inevitably to Adam and the wrong decision he made that set all humanity on the wrong course?

But surely that means it was ultimately God’s fault, because he was the one who created Adam, and it was he who created a good looking tree offering humans the knowledge of good and evil, and he who created a crafty serpent to tempt Adam and Eve into eating the fruit off it, which let evil out of its cage, leading to all the horrors we experience today. It was God, therefore, who got this mess started, so everything bad that happens to us should be called an ‘Act of God’, right?

It was also an Act of God, though, that created another tree that Adam could have chosen to eat off instead, and that tree would have enabled Adam to tap into God’s power to resist evil. Adam had a choice, therefore, as to which tree he would eat off. And he chose the wrong tree. It was an ‘act of man’, therefore, that set the ball rolling of bad things happening, not an Act of God.

From the very start, then, we’ve got an Act of God providing the solution to all evil – in the potent healing power of the tree of life – but an act of man rejecting it, allowing evil to spread. And that scene now repeats itself every day in our day too, as people either accept God’s solution to evil or reject it. God’s solution is still eating off the tree of life, which today is more than a tree it’s the actual life of Christ made available to us so we can resist evil like he did. And it was God who provided that. He was the one who sent Christ to solve our problem with evil. It was an Act of God, therefore, that started the ball rolling of stopping bad things happening, and reversing what the acts of man have caused.

So rather than blaming God for bad things happening, he is our only hope of bad things not happening – the bad things that we, not he, got started.

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