I was thinking about the flood -- the whole-earth mabbul that swallowed the world with water and drowned almost every living thing.
I was thinking about the tragedy.
And thinking, Why couldn't God have destroyed the violence without destroying the people? Why couldn't He have fixed the world without destroying humans? Why did God do this unthinkable thing?
The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was very great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the LORD said, "I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land..."
Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. And God said to Noah, "I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them." [gen6]
Corruption, rottenness. Evil continually. Filled with violence.
And it grieved Him to His heart.
All the things we hate about this life. Extortion and exploitation. Using and abusing people, the animals, and the land. Plotting, conniving, manipulating. Predation and discarding the weak. Debasement, debauchery. Rivers and pools of pain that multiplied until it all became a flood.
Why couldn't God have destroyed all of that pain without destroying the people?
>> Because God could not separate unwilling sinners from their sin.
And right now we're in the world millennia after that big flood and I look around and sometimes I'm struck with the beauty of a common rabbit just really enjoying himself in a patch of grass and clover, but a lot of times I'm sickened in the stomach with the realities of corruption, rottenness, evil continually, and violence, just disgusted with all the pain.
And in these situations we ask God why He doesn't put an end to it.
But when He tells us that He will, we ask Him why He'd do such a thing in destroying the earth with fire.
Why can't God just destroy all the pain without destroying people?
>> Because God cannot separate unwilling sinners from their sin.
He'll do so much! He will wait with the patience that even the saints cannot fathom. He'll send His Spirit and His message of rescue and restoration and give every invitation to a people who have stopped up their ears. He will put up with the pain that only an infinite heart can feel. He will consider all the privileges of divinity as something to be set aside, and He will make Himself nothing, and He will be born as a man and will humble Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even the death on a cross. He will pour out every good thing He has and everything He is to save as many as He can from destroying themselves.
But what He'll never do is force someone into holiness and love. What He'll never do is wrestle away their power of choice, leaving their robot bodies alive and pretending that they're still human.
God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him would not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. And this is the judgment: The light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. [jn3]
. . . . . . .
A beautiful song that gives voice to a common question. (but: language warning!)