In our morning Bible study yesterday, Preston Atkinson discussed the reality and implications of and our responsibility toward God’s common grace. In light of that discussion I couldn’t help but post this quote from D.A. Carson:
“It comes as an enormous relief to recognize that, however odious and sweeping sin is, whether in personal idolatry or in its outworking in the barbarities of a Pol Pot or an Auschwitz, God intervenes to restrain evil, to display his ‘common grace’ to and through all, so that glimpses of glory and goodness disclose themselves even in the midst of the wretchedness of rebellion. God still sends his sun and rain upon the just and the unjust; he still guides the surgeon’s hand and gives strength to the person who picks up the garbage; the sunset still takes our breath away, while a baby’s smile steals our hearts. Acts of kindness and self-sacrifice surface among every race and class of human beings, not because we are simple mixtures of good and evil, but because even in the midst of our deep rebellion God restrains us and displays his glory and goodness” (Christ and Culture Revisited: 49).
The question is not why God would allow so much evil, but given the depth of our depravity why there is not more evil than there is.
We covered Joshua 6 in our preaching yesterday. The text begs the question: “How could God endorse what appears to be genocide?” God was not guilty of genocide. Jericho was guilty of “theocide” and deserved every bit of God’s fury. So, let’s not ask why God did what he did to Jericho, but contemplate why he didn’t do it sooner. And there we enter the mysterious world of God’s common grace from which we must never emerge.