I remember a
year or so back when some friends had a baby die, other friends
tried to comfort them saying, "God must have needed another
being shocked and a little disgusted by this suggestion. My
pastor, Michael Sim, teaches that God does not need any more
angels. And that most definitely God does not murder babies!
It might have comforted the parents, but the suggested that God
needed another angel was patently untrue. So why did their
young one die tragically?
In 1987 my
beloved brother John, aged thirty-two, died the victim of a
hit-and-run drunk driver, who then turned up in court with his
transvestite "mistress" in full drag to fake an insanity plea.
The plea worked and he got away with it.
This left me
wondering how God could have allowed John to die this way. And
why would he allow the killer to turn the court room into a
circus and successfully pervert justice?
recently I have learnt that my beloved cat, Missy, who I have had
for eight years, after my mother owned her for seven years before
me, is now dying of cancer. If I were not long-time unemployed
I could pay $800 for an operation with about a one-third chance
of saving her. Although her age means that she would probably
die on the operating table anyway - thereby robbing her of the
one or two months extra life she may have if she does not have
the operation. Again if I were not long-time unemployed I could
spend $500 for a biopsy to see if the type of cancer might
respond to chemo-therapy. However, most cat cancers do not
respond to chemo-therapy, so I would be spending all of that
money with only (according to the vet) a two to three Percent
chance that her cancer would respond to chemo-therapy.
So again I
have to ask why God allows such a tragedy to happen. Missy is a
good little girl who spends most of her days with me, keeping me
company, and as a middle-aged bachelor living alone, stopping me
from getting too depressed or lonely during the
I know in my
heart that God is perfect, God is always righteous! I have
absolutely no doubts about this. So how can he allow such
heart-rending tragedies to occur?
answer this question I have to first ask you a question. Namely
have you heard of fatalisms, or the term fatalist?
is yes, you probably have. But you probably misunderstand both
terms. Most people take a fatalist to be like a cynic, a
sceptic, or a pessimist. In truth a fatalist is nothing like
any of these. A fatalist believes that we are not really alive.
That we are merely puppets performing a playlette that is our
life. Fatalists believe that before each person is born God
writes a play that is their life. It contains every success,
every failure, and every heartache that will occur throughout his
or her lifetime.
fatalists believe) we have no free will and are merely puppets
performing the play that God has written for us, they believe
that there is no point trying to better yourself. They believe
that if God has fated you to be a failure, nothing you can do can
change that, so you might as well not try to achieve anything.
Conversely if God has fated us to be successful, even as almost
unbelievably successful as a Bill Gates, then there is still no
need to try to better ourselves, because God has fated us to be a
success and we will succeed without even trying.
If you were
to ask Bill Gates whether he achieved his almost unbelievable
fortune by: a) sitting on his brains doing nothing for decades
and God mysteriously rewarded him to such a degree anyway, or b)
working his guts out for decades until he had achieved such
massive success by his own labours. I'm fairly certain that he
would say the answer is b).
If we never
try we cannot succeed. But if we have no free choice we are not
really humans, merely puppets.
To make this
point better I have to go into a seemingly bizarre aside, by
telling you a little about Doctor Who, and what I call the
Logopolan theory of why god has to let tragedies
I was six
when Dr Who started and grew up watching it. Stopping in the
late 1970s in my early twenties, so that the last Doctor I
originally watched was Tom Baker. Then a dozen years later my
older sister, Denise, became a massive Dr Who fan and started
buying up every Dr Who VCR tape she could find. So for the
first time I was introduced to the three Doctors after Tom Baker
(in the original show which ended in 1989), Peter Davidson, Colin
Baker, and Sylvestor McCoy.
important one for this essay though, is Peter Davidson. In
particular his first Doctor Who four-part series Logopolis. In
this series the Doctor lands at Logopolis a seemingly normal
place with an ancient history going back thousands of years.
But immediately the Doctor senses that something is wrong, but
due to trouble with his regeneration, the doctor initially cannot
work out what is not right about Logopolis.
realises that although the Logopolans have a written history
purporting to date back thousands of years, that all of their
history books are brand new. They have no ancient books, no
ancient papers or pamphlettes, no ancient scrolls. Every book
in their library is new. Because the history of Logopolis is
fake. Logopolis does not exist, it is a computer simulation and
the Logopolans are computer-generated holograms who have been
programmed to think that they are alive.
fatalists were right then this would be our existence. Without
free will God would have designed us as nothing but
computer-generated holograms who have been programmed (by God) to
think that we are alive.
That is why
God must let babies die. Why he has let my beloved Missy die.
(There was a four month gap between me writing the early
paragraphs of this essay and being able to bring myself to write
was diagnosed with cancer, the vet told me that she might live
one to two more months. But a tragic accident meant that she
only lived one more week after that. She slept on the bed with
me and one night (I was lying awake due to my sleep apnoea); she
suddenly rolled off the bed in her sleep. I made a desperate
bid to catch her, but missed and she hit the wooden floor with a
bone-shattering crunching sound that will haunt me for
I have no
light in my bedroom, so I had to use the remote to switch on the
TV for light. I expected to find Missy lying dead on the floor,
but there was no sign of her. I hunted through the house and
finally found her, seeming physically undamaged but scared and
hiding in the lounge room. So I picked her up and carried her
back to bed. That was a Friday night. Saturday, Sunday, and
Monday she seemed fine. Then Monday evening she had a fit and
seemed to have died. I stroked her thinking that she was
already dead and she slowly started to move again then climbed
off the coffee table (beside my bed) and started to stagger like
she was drunk into the spare bedroom to hide under a
that she was going there to die, I moved the chair and picked her
up and nursed her, expecting her to die. But she seemed to pick
up, so I took her back to my bed. Then Tuesday morning I awoke
and there was no sign of her. I thought she must have fallen
off the other side of the bed and looked for her. Then I spent
half an hour searching the entire house. Finally I found her in
the bottom of the crockery cupboard in the kitchen. I picked
her out and put her down to see if she could walk properly, but
she could no longer even stand up. So I rang the animal
hospital, then the pet ambulance and took her in to be put down
rather than let her live like that.
of my church lent me a shovel to bury her the next day. It
was 6 PM
black when he arrived, so I laid Missy out in the spare bedroom
on a cat blanket that the animal hospital had given me -- they
could afford it, the month or so trying to save her cost me $550
dollars. The next morning I started trying to dig her grave
near the letter box out front, where she had always liked to lie
in sunny weather. At first I thought that I physically would
not be able too dig the grave because the ground was so rocky.
Finally I rested an hour then went back for fifteen minutes
digging, then another hour's rest, and had to keep doing that all
day. I started digging at 9:30
AM, but wasn't able to put
Missy in and fill the grave till 4:30
PM, so it literally took me
all day and almost killed me. But I know that if you let an
animal hospital dispose of a pet, they just throw it in the
rubbish, and I did not want that happening to her.
So with such
a tragedy robbing Missy of her last month or two of life, and me
of her companionship, do I rant against God as so many do after
losing loved ones? No, because I know that God gives us life,
but he does not kill us! We just die, sometimes due to horrific
accidents. God does not cause the accidents that kill us. God
loves us too much to rob us of life, by robbing us of free will.
That is why God will not make us into puppets or holograms like
the Logopolans. For us to be living, breathing human beings, we
must have free will. But free will means tragedies happen, that
some people have the huge success of Bill Gates and billions of
people live in abject poverty. If God protected us all to the
point that no-one ever died tragically, no-one ever had too much,
and no-one too little, we would be artificial life forms like the
Logopolans and like the fatalists believe. That is the fatal
flaw behind fatalism. If God granted us everything we ever
prayed for, he would be making our lives too easy, pre-programmed
in fact, just as the fatalists believe. God hears all of our
prays and knows what we want before we even pray. But if he
answered every single pray he would be robbing us of our free
will, and therefore robbing us of our humanity.
a very dangerous doctrine, because it is the doctrine of never
trying. And therefore it is the doctrine of absolute failure.
If we were all fatalists, there would be no Bill Gates in the
world. There would be no rich people. There would be no upper
or even lower middle class people. There would not even be any
upper working class people. We would be all abject failures
living in the almost unbelievable squalor and poverty of people
in poor third world countries. (I mean poor in both senses,
that they are poor, and that I regret that they are
So the next
time someone you love dies, do not rant against God, thank the
Lord for letting them live as long (or as short) as they did as a
real, live, human being. Not merely a puppet at the fatalists