God and 9/11, Part 2

Okay, I admit, I haven’t finished my paper yet. I’m organizing my research as I catch up on the Star Trek: Voyager episodes that I taped, plus I have a cold. Hopefully, I will feel stronger and more motivated tomorrow.

I came across an interesting article today entitled “Where Was God on 9/11?” The article argues that God was protecting people and giving them strength on that tragic day. There were several who did not show up for work at the World Trade Center due to traffic jams. After the planes crashed into the Twin Towers, a full half hour passed before the buildings collapsed, allowing those on the lower floors to escape. The buildings fell inward rather than toppling over, preserving the lives of more people. Many could have travelled on the fateful planes that day but chose not to do so. Those who received calls from passengers did not report panic or screaming in the background, and the passengers on one of the planes even managed to overcome the hijackers. According to the article, God gave them strength.

As I said in my last post, I have problems with the view that those who survived 9/11 were more righteous than those who perished. Jesus explicitly said that dying in a disaster does not make one a greater sinner. At the same time, can I deny God’s providential care for those who survived? If I were one of the survivors, I would be humbled and grateful that I could live another day. And I wouldn’t be thanking time and chance, but God.

Why did God preserve some and let others to die? Who knows? Maybe he had a mission for the survivors. Some of them may have taken life for granted before 9/11 and gained a new purpose after barely escaping death. I’m not being dogmatic on this. But so many religious people assume that the ones who survived were more righteous than those who died. That may not have been true in every case. Perhaps some of the ones who died were more ready to meet God.

What I like about this article is that it looks for God in one of history’s bleakest moments. Wherever we are, however bleak our situation may be, God is present working things out for good.

At the same time, we should not allow our belief in God’s will to blind us to the reality of evil. God may have allowed people to die for his righteous purposes, and yet their deaths at the hands of the hijackers were evil. Children lost their parents, spouses lost their mates, and friends lost the people they loved. And, whatever the terrorists had against the United States, the Americans who died on 9/11 were not directly responsible for the problems in the Middle East. The Bible acknowledges that there is a sovereign God who rules the world according to his wise will, and yet it also commands us to oppose evil. Is this a paradox? Yes, but it is the truth.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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