With the awful terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001, which killed c. 2,823 people, many people have wondered about God, Evil and the Meaning of Life.
a) A Vision of Hell
Of the 2,823 persons who perished, some were burned to death, others, in order to escape the flames jumped to their death and hit the pavement so hard that eye witnesses saw a pink mist rise from over their bodies. As the 110 floor towers crashed, human life was snuffed out. Bodies were crushed or dismembered by the thousands by the tremendous weight of the rubble. Some, caught in limited spaces, suffocated to death while others found themselves in darkness and slowly perished from the heat of surrounding fires.
b) The Warping of Conscience
The terrorists as men were born with a sense that good is to be done and evil avoided. But something went very wrong in the formation of their conscience. They went to their death in the name of Allah, but they forgot that Allah is the Beneficent and Merciful.
In the Koran we read as follows:
"Do those who do ill-deeds imagine that they can outstrip Us? Evil (for them) is that which they decide.
Whoso looketh forward to the meeting with Allah (let him know that) Allah's reckoning is surely nigh, and He is the Hearer, the Knower.
And whoever striveth, striveth only for himself, for lo! Allah is altogether Independent of his creatures." (Surah 29. The Spider, Vs.4-6)
c) The Cause of Evil
God in no way, shape or form is the cause of evil. Man having being created with freedom of choice is the fundamental cause of evil and evil is a deficiency in being.
Could God have prevented such a tragedy? Yes, by not giving man free will or by suspending the law of gravity or by directly killing the terrorists. But God in his wisdom has not chosen so to act.
In the Our Father we pray: "deliver us from evil". God in his wisdom, allows evil, to bring a greater good out of it. And, what is that good? The awakening of America's conscience that we must change our way of life. We are horrified by this terrorist act, and rightly so, but most Americans are not horrified at the millions of unborn children aborted. These acts are done individually under the seemingly respectable title "the right of woman". May God have mercy on us. God by allowing this physical tragedy will serve to bring many souls to salvation, thereby delivering us from the greater evil of eternal damnation.
God is saying to us:
"Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at Hand!"
Christ in the Parable of the Weeds tells us that the good and wicked must live together in this world because, if God destroyed the wicked, He would be destroying also some of the good along with the wicked. But Christ declares:
"Behold, I am coming soon.
I bring with me the recompense
I will give to each according to his deeds." (Rev 22:12)
Consider: The greatest evil perpetrated by man was the death of Christ, God's Son,in his humanity. Yet, God, through this death, opened for mankind the realm of endless life in the happiness of God, the greatest possible good.
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Year 2004 - Looking Back
Looking back at this event we now hear of people who were saved from death on that day due to circumstances of life. For example:
One woman was late because her alarm clock didn't go off on time.
One went back to answer the telephone.
One was wearing new shoes and developed a blister on his way to work and stopped at a drug store to buy a Band-Aid.
From my point of view, this was God's providential care. My brother instead thought that God had nothing to do with saving these people because God is all good. And if he had anything to do with this event he would also have saved those who perished in this tragedy.
What is missing from my brother's way of thinking is the concept of God's justice. God sent his Son to die for our sins thus saving us from eternal death (hell), but physical death still remained as a punishment for sin. God in his wisdom allowed some to die on 9/11 while extending the life of others for his inscrutable reasons. Absolutely nothing escapes from God's providential care as Christ indicated, "Even the hairs of your head have all been counted." (Lk 12:7)