He Forbids It, Yet Gets Blamed for It
IT IS people who wage war, maim and kill millions, cause famine and pestilence. It is people who pollute the environment, exploit and exhaust earth’s resources. They decimate wildlife and level forests as though they were harvesting wheat, and leave the denuded land to be eroded by rain and communities to be flooded. It is people who cause the spiraling crime rates, until many areas are not safe even in daytime. Millions turn to self-destructive conduct, take drug trips to escape their boring and miserable reality, and make bad matters worse.
The point is, it is people who do these calamitous things and it is people who have the power to stop them. Most of the suffering that people endure would be avoided if they heeded God’s commands. He forbids murder, stealing, fornication, sodomy, greed, gluttony, drunkenness and other acts of wrongdoing that work injury to people. He tells us to take care of the earth, the plants and the animals, to love our neighbor, to treat others as we would like to be treated.—Gen. 1:28; 2:15; Matt. 22:39; 7:12.
Nevertheless, multitudes refuse to follow his counsel and follow their own ways instead, and when this leads to calamity they blame the one who warned them against their course in the first place. Then they bewail their plight and cry out, ‘Why me?’ They act as though divine providence had singled them out to be innocent victims. At Proverbs 19:3 the Bible points this out as a tendency of such ones. The New English Bible translates it: “A man’s own folly wrecks his life, and then he bears a grudge against the LORD.” The Revised Standard Version says: “When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the Lord.” Interestingly, such persons are quick to blame God for the bad, but when good happens to them they never ask ‘Why me?’ They only blame, they never thank.
Most of the wickedness man laments is that which people do to other people or to themselves. There is some suffering, however, that comes from natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, prolonged drought and other such calamities. Even in these, damage can be held to a minimum by proper construction of homes and other buildings and by preserving natural forests that influence rainfall. And when damage does occur, individuals are not singled out as targets, but it is as Ecclesiastes 9:11 says: “The swift do not have the race, nor the mighty ones the battle, nor do the wise also have the food, nor do the understanding ones also have the riches, nor do even those having knowledge have the favor; because time and unforeseen occurrence befall them all.”
God forbids wickedness, but he permits it, even though he is all powerful and could stop it. Why, then, doesn’t he stop it?