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"Dear God — Why did you let Tommy die?"

The letter was written by a young boy named Peter.
He had been taught about God — told God would protect, preserve, heal.
But his brother, Tommy, was dead. Why? Why does God allow tragedy?
Why do innocent babies suffer? Why the caprice of tornado, hurricane or typhoon?
Why, if there is a God, does God allow wars, and crime, and automobile accidents?
These questions have perplexed the greatest theologians for centuries yet the answers are simple.


When he was hit by the car, my mother prayed to you to let him live, but you wouldn't. My little brother was only two years old," wrote Peter to a newspaper advice counselor, "and he couldn't have sinned so bad that you had to punish him that way . . . you could have saved my little brother but you let him die. You broke my mother's heart. How can I love you?"

Peter's grief was genuine. So was his perplexity over the goodness of the God of whom he had heard from his parents, and the evil of the terrible accident that took his brother's life.

His young mind simply couldn't accept it. Tommy was dead. But mother had prayed. And God — the God he had heard of who helped people, and who was good and merciful, had let Tommy die.

If He was God, He had the power to stop Tommy from dying, didn't He? And Peter's mother had fervently asked Him to, hadn't she?

Well, then — why had God let Tommy die?


Answer Unavailable?

 The newspaper columnist had no answers. He simply replied, "Suffering of innocent people is something we cannot understand."

But is there no answer, then?

What about the millions who died in the Nazi torture camps, the tens of thousands in Nigeria and Vietnam, the millions on all sides during World War II? And what about the untold, unknown, unwritten calamities that have befallen human beings since time immemorial — whether infant mortality, accidental death, murder, sickness or war?

Are human beings, then, just like animals — subject to the vagaries of weather and nature, to the passions of other humans, and to caprice?

Or is there a God who could prevent human suffering if He so chose?

Many theologians concur the answer is unobtainable.

But why should it be?

If there is a God, and most (certainly not all) theologians profess to believe in God, then would not that God leave a glimpse of His purpose, His plan, to His own creation which He loves? Wouldn't God have revealed the answers to human problems if He truly seeks to relieve such problems?


God Is Blamed.

It's a commentary on human nature that we tend to congratulate ourselves for our successes, and blame God for our failures. If we fail, if a loved one is hurt, we wonder why God "allowed" it to happen. When we triumph, we can think of many reasons why we did.

One atheist expressed a rather common attitude: "If I had the power to fashion the universe and 'remake it nearer my heart's desire,' there would be no blind, no deaf, no dumb; there would be no crippled, and each child born would live free of disease and possess a mentality capable of withstanding all the rebuffs of life. There would be no deaths by accident. There would be no earthquakes, cyclones or tornadoes. Unless and until such a condition comes to pass, when we may live free from disease, sorrow and suffering, there is no God in this vast universe worthy of homage." At least, so thought a professed atheist.

And our youth of today? They, too, wonder. Wrote one young teenager: "I am a teenager, a child of the 'age of skepticism' . . . frankly, I am angry at God for choosing this generation for the manifestation of His wrath."

Millions of teens, having seen the blatant hypocrisy of much of professing "Christianity" — the "do as I say, don't do as I do" generation of once-a-week listeners and "never-doers" — have simply rejected the traditional "mainstream" of "Christian thought."

Trouble is, they think that by rejecting many of the more commonplace religious denominations they have automatically rejected the Bible, and Christ, and God.

Not so.

But teens wonder, too. Do conditions in this nuclear-armed, overpopulated, polluted, war-sick, disease-ridden, tragedy-filled world indicate any successes whatever for the traditional "Christian" struggle?

Or doesn't it frankly look like Satan wins all the battles?

During World War II, a young German soldier wrote from Stalingrad to his pastor back home: "In Stalingrad, to put the question of God's existence means to deny it. . . .

"I have searched for God in every crater, in every destroyed house, on every corner, in every friend, in every foxhole, and in the sky. God did not show Himself, even though my heart cried for Him.

"If there should be a God, He is only with you in the hymnals and the prayers, in the pious sayings of the priests and pastors, in the ringing of the bells and the fragrance of incense, but not in Stalingrad."

And so a youth, caught up in the shock of war, searched through traditional avenues for God, and couldn't find Him.


"The Invisible God.

" What about the claims of the atheist? Would a world "nearer our hearts' desire" without suffering and death be the only proof of a "God worthy of homage" in this vast universe?

The greatest question in all this is "Does God exist?"

Is there a God?

If so, can you prove it? Is God a personal being, who hears, and answers prayers?

What is His nature, if He exists? Is He a loving, merciful, forgiving God who is interested in preventing tragedy? Does He protect humans? Does He stop wars?

If you haven't yet proved whether God is, then you need to write immediately for our booklet Does God Exist?

Science proves there is a God. It is absolutely unshakable — the only intelligent answer. A creation demands a Creator. Life demands a Life-giver. Power, energy, force — all demand a source of power. Design is not through randomness or caprice, but by a Designer. A great Sustainer keeps it all working. Laws require a Lawgiver. And God has not left this world without a witness. He has given His Word.

And the Word of God, the Bible, stands proved.

God's Word is the handbook about human nature, the book that explains about life and the way it should be lived.

While it sounds utterly impossible, the answers to the perplexing questions of youth, the bewilderment of Peter, the frustrated anger of the soldier at Stalingrad, the cynical atheist, are very plainly revealed in God's Word!

God explains why He permits accidents, sickness, murder and wars! He plainly reveals why humans suffer, and shows why He does not prevent it.


What Are the Causes of Human Troubles?

But first, what caused little Tommy's death? Why the problems? Why war? For every effect there is a cause: that's a living principle. There must be causes for effects, action to bring about reaction.

Why was the little boy struck by the automobile? Perhaps the answers are simple, if tragic; perhaps they're very involved. First, what about Tommy's training? Had he been taught never to run into the street? What type of discipline had he received during his young life? What about protective fences? What about speed restrictions in the neighborhood? An automobile was involved. But automobiles are not constructed by men whose whole purpose is the safety of other human beings.

Assembly-line production — with built-in obsolescence, huge engines and flimsy bodies in ever-changing shapes — does not turn out carefully hand-crafted machinery that is totally safe. Perhaps the automobile had defective brakes. Perhaps the driver had been drinking or was under the influence of drugs. Even heavy doses of smog can markedly slow down a motorist's reactions in an emergency. So can pain killers, like aspirin. And, strange as it may seem, even an argument at home could have so affected the driver of the auto that he was driving angrily, at unreasonable speed.

So there were many, many unknown factors involved in the accident that killed little Tommy. Let's ask little Peter's question again — and see specific answers.

Peter asked God (or challenged God because his mother had asked) to remove the effect of perhaps many, many voluntary human actions. Were the two boys chasing one another? Had Tommy run into the street to retrieve a ball? Was he actually attempting to see how close he could come to the car? (Very real cases are on record of such pranks; and one, of which I know personally, resulted in the death of a child)

The causes could have been myriad.

If you wish to read, with your own eyes, some of the most nearly unbelievable advice you can imagine concerning childrens' ventures into busy streets, you should write immediately for your free copy of our book The Plain Truth About Child Rearing.

Peter's letter didn't list any causes for the accident. Perhaps Peter's mother could have removed the cause. We'll never know for sure. But suppose more diligent training could have literally prevented Tommy from ever running into the street. It's possible, you know.

Suppose Tommy had been told to remain in the backyard, away from a busy street — but that he had never been disciplined when he disobeyed. Suppose his foray into the street was a childlike act of adventurous rebellion.

Human emotions always cloud facts. Bereaved loved ones, seeing only the immediate, terrible consequences of an accident, are stunned with heartsick moroseness. They are filled with feelings of pity and sorrow. They see the effect — the pitiful body of a dead child. But the causes?

Most of us remain blind to them. I must realize, in writing this article, that some human minds will simply remain closed to the logical answers to little Peter's questions — that pity (and perhaps even a measure of self-righteous indignation which helps some to continually upgrade themselves, spiritually), will so cloud the mind that no matter what the causes, God will remain "guilty," in some minds.

But what if the driver was drunk? God could have prevented such drunkenness, couldn't He?

Yes — He could.

But how?


The Atheist's Better World.

The answers are found in the obvious mistakes in the thinking of the cynical atheist, who would "remake" the world nearer his heart's desire.

How would he do this?

He would remove the effects of human action — of free moral agency — of free choice.

He would demand there be no blindness, deafness, dumbness; no cripples, no disease, and no deaths by accident. He would insist each mind be mature, normal, stable, able to withstand all the rebuffs of life.

He would, in short, insist man be allowed to continue breaking natural and spiritual laws — continue living the way that causes all these human miseries. Yet he would insist on removing the effects of free human action.

In short, he would advocate the abolishing of the penalty for sin, while leaving the sin itself.

Again, we must ask, "Why blindness, deafness, dumbness? Why crippling accidents, sickness, accidental deaths? Why wars?"

The answer?

Man is a free moral agent. He is free to choose his own way of living, free to act contrary to the interests of others, free to act contrary to his own self-interests.

One common cause of congenital blindness, deafness, and other deformities is venereal disease. The atheist said nothing about the prevention of venereal disease — only that he demands the effects of human sin be removed, that humans be allowed to be as wretchedly disobedient to the laws of God as ever, but that the penalties for these broken laws be removed.

Accidental deaths? He would remove them.


He didn't say. But let's think of the many, many ways in which people die accidentally. Drownings, auto collisions, accidental shootings, falls, airplane crashes, accidental poisonings — these and a host of others take their fearsome toll each year.

But let's be practical. Does the atheist, then, propose that God suspend His laws each time a person breaks them? Humans can't breathe under water. When people foolishly stand up in boats, or overload boats, or when children play on steep banks of rushing rivers, or when old craft, poorly maintained, flounder — does the atheist expect God to immediately rescue each person caught in such an act — that God remove the penalty for foolish actions?

But how would God do this?

Let's wonder together.