This weekend seems to be as good a launching point as any to consider life in a fallen creation. A congresswoman is gunned down in a public forum in Arizona, and a federal judge, a 9-year-old girl and four others are randomly slain just for being there. At this point the shooter appears to have been motivated only by mental illness, but many with an agenda immediately tried to score political points off this personal tragedy. From beginning to end these are demonstrations of the corrupt, fallen nature of the world and the people who dwell upon it. Only one question can express a rational reaction to this: How can God allow this to happen?
The violence in Arizona is only a microcosm of what has gone on in the world throughout recorded history. It is a tiny example of the distortion humanity is capable of, and many worse incidents have happened since then that the American media is unaware of. These events are shocking only when they happen in our backyards, or happen to people we know or think we ought to know (like elected officials). So how can God allow these things? A better question is, why does God remain patient with humanity and not wipe out everyone?
Central to our situation is that the Fall was a foregone conclusion. God has set up a stage for a great battle that rages in the Heavenlies, a conflict that led directly to and revolves around the Cross. For more on this thesis, check out this essay. "Man is born to suffer as the sparks fly upward" -- these are words from the oldest writing in Scripture, Job. They have rung true since the Fall, and will remain so until Christ returns. This then can be our only real comfort in times like these, that we believe and pray urgently that the demonstration to God's enemies will be complete, that Christ will return again, He will claim His bride, He will claim His kingdom, and He will set things right again.