Continuing with my committment to annoying Rob, I will be posting this quote with no commentary:
Where was God on the 11th September ? Why did he allow these terrible events to happen to innocent people?
This is of course a variation on a much bigger and well known question of the same form. It implies, of course, that it's God's job to step in and stop people doing radically wicked and inhumane things; and, since we know about the Holocaust etc., we know that this isn't in fact how God works. Actually, most of us wouldn't want to live in a world like that, since it would mean that every time we were exercising our free choice in a way which went even a little against God's will he would put up an invisible wall to prevent us doing so. That would make us puppets, not people.
In fact, of course, people inother parts of the world have been asking Britain, America, Japan etc. for the last fifty years: why doesn't God step in and stop the wicked exploitation we suffer from the North and West? Why does God allow us to get hooked into massive unpayable debt? Why are our fisheries being destroyed by global pollution? As soon as we ask those questions we see that there are uncomfortable answers coming from a quite different angle.
Of course, in relation to Sept 11 and every other asking of this kind of question, the greatest biblical answers are:
a. the book of Job: no easy answer, just a fresh and bigger revelation of the true God;
b. the death of Jesus: God taking the very worst that inhuman humans can do, taking it upon himself, exhausting its force and power. Somehow as Christians we are bidden to see these awful, terrible events in the light of those two texts.
Tom Wright answering various questions.