Even though I was only a small child, I remember the cold, fall day that I accompanied my father to a nearby cemetery. As we stood above three tiny graves, I recall the tears streaming down my father’s face and the anguish in his eyes. My father was reluctant to explain why we were there for fear that I was just too young and innocent to understand the horrid circumstances involved. He didn’t have to explain. I knew exactly why we were there. Word had already spread at my elementary school that a woman in our community had murdered her three small children just days before. It was also rumored that the oldest of the three boys was found under a pile of clothes in a coat closet inside of their small suburban home. It was speculated that he had witnessed the horrific deaths of his two younger brothers so he retreated to the closet to escape. His mother found him there and he too fell victim to such a horrific fate. Why did this have to happen? I thought God loved all little children and he was supposed to protect them. How could he allow this among such innocent little creatures? All of these thoughts raced through my head and I finally got the courage to ask my father these questions. His only reply was that they must have been very special children and God needed them in Heaven. Not satisfied with his answer, this experience haunted me for much of my childhood. Would God allow this to happen to me? I spent many years searching for answers.
I recently read Richard Swinburne’s The Problem of Evil and realized that he confirmed the answers that I had found throughout the years. He argues that God created us as free agents in an imperfect world where we can learn right from wrong and ...
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...t God takes advantage of every situation and works to bring good out of evil, life out of death and hope out of despair. I know this idea alone cannot remove heartache and pain, but I do hope it can give us the courage to keep living and the knowledge that God will not forsake us. We can triumph over evil in the midst of our suffering. We can live in the hope that there is a place for us that is just and perfect beyond this world. I can now find solace in the fact that there are three small boys from my past that are now in a place far better than this world. They have eternal happiness and joy. Perhaps my father was right after all: they are very special children.
1. Swinburne, Richard. “The Problem of Evil.” The Canon and It’s Critics, a Multi- Perspective Introduction to Philosophy. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Publishing, 2000. 575-86.
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