Question: If the lord love the little children, why are there so many starving, dying and abused children?
(please pardon the grammar, I have copied the question here exactly as it was sent to me)
Answer: I was somewhat reticent about answering this one. This is one of the top three questions asked by those seeking to make a mockery of someone else’s faith. Unlike the other two, there is at least a possibility that this question was asked by someone honestly seeking an answer instead of someone seeking only to frustrate the one to whom the question was posed. So, while this is not exactly an original question, and often only posed to serve as a “gotcha” question, it does merit an answer.
The short version of the answer is : “Because those who are responsible for the care and safety of the children so afflicted are neglecting their duties.”
The complete answer takes a bit more ink…
First, it must be established that this question has, at its root, several false premises. These can be uncovered by asking additional questions. Do people die who are loved by the Lord? Do people go hungry who are loved by the Lord? Do people suffer abuse who are loved by the lord? As you can see through the simple expedient of picking up and reading a newspaper, all of these things happen to people who are loved by the Lord; if these things happen to anyone at all, they happen to someone who is loved by the Lord, and they are happening all over the world, to millions of people, not just children.
The first false premise is that a “loving” Lord would not allow the ones he loves to be hurt. This is not the case any more than it is that children of loving parents are never injured. The Lord loves everyone, and all people, adults and children, get hurt. An assumption that the Lord would not allow someone to be hurt also assumes that the Lord is in control of and responsible for all that occurs in our lives. He is not; we are. The Lord, creator of the heavens and the earth, is neither a tyrant nor a dictator. Man has free will. The Lord is NOT responsible for the actions of mankind; each and every one of us is responsible for our own actions. Mankind was given stewardship over creation, that includes his fellow man. WE are supposed to insure that these things do not happen, it is part of our job. When these things happen, we have no one to blame but ourselves.
The second false premise is that the Lord is responsible for everything that occurs. This question usually arises from someone who does not accept the reality of free will, or does not understand all that free will entails. I myself have posed a similar question to my students during a class as a means of illustrating the foolishness of the doctrine of predestination and all of the subsequent “adjustments” that must be made to accommodate it.
The Lord gave us free will. This was done out of necessity. Obedience is not obedience in the absence of the possibility of disobedience. Likewise, fellowship is not fellowship If the other person in the room with you is there because they are chained to the wall. We are created for fellowship with each other, fellowship with the Lord, and stewardship over the rest of creation (stewardship is the “obedience” part). None of this is possible without free will. All of this is impossible with predestination. The Lord guides us through his Spirit and his Word; he does not march us along as marionettes. It is up to us to choose to do the right thing.
A portion of free will is that the Lord, having given us free will, does not violate it.
With free will, when abuse happens, we should weep all the more, for those who should have prevented that abuse did not. Were predestination the case, when abuse happens, it is because a cruel, callous and hateful deity made it so.
The Lord loves all of his creation. He loves all of creation so much that he has sought continually since the first portion of his creation turned away from him to reconcile all of creation back unto himself. So great is his love for all of us that in his grace he allowed an other to die in our stead. So great is his love that he gave us the Law to guide us, and Scripture to explain the pathway to reconciliation. So great is his love that he gave us all the ability to choose. So great is his love that he set in motion a mechanism to insure that none need ever suffer. It is to our shame that many of us choose to stand by and do nothing while others choose to abuse those under their care.
It is not for failing of the love of the Lord that such injustice can occur, but for failure of us all to live within that love.