Elseth Ancedote on the Problem of Evil

From the first chapter of Did God Know by Howard Elseth:

Wanting to give the girl something, Duncan remembered the package of gum he had. He called to her, but the shy little girl misunderstood and was frightened. She jumped away from her stone toys – and Duncan’s call to her became the call of death.

Nearby the water pond, unknown to the children, lived a viper. The snake hid himself during the day between rocks and fed on the small animals that frequently came to the water. Today, however, the heat had driven him to the shade of one of the many bushes near the pool. He had been silently sensing the presence of the children for a long time, but now the sudden movement of the little girl excited him.

He lunged out at her and dug his venemous fangs into her soft leg with incredible deftness. Terror overcame Duncan…

Duncan had not prayed in a long time. But he prayed now-out of desperation. He pleaded with God not to let the beautiful child die. It seemed to him that there was no reason or sense to what had happened. His prayers were to no avail, however. The innocent girl shivered in the afternoon heat. Numbness worked its way up her leg and poison quickly moved throughout the small body. Sweat came out of her unwrinkled skin as convulsions emptied the girl’s stomach of vomit. As the afternoon sun faded, the black-haired girl died.

Duncan’s thoughts drifted toward God. What had the girl done that God inflicted this upon her? Was her crime playing with stones in a quiet African town? Who is God that He would allow such a thing? If God knew beforehand that the viper would strike out at the child, why didn’t He prevent it? How could a God of love remain idle during such an event? Worse yet, did God plan or determine that this event would happen, as the theologian John Calvin suggests? How ludicrous it seemed to Duncan that a God so great that He created millions of planets in millions of light years of space would spend His time plotting and planning to kill one child in an obscure African village. How could this possibly be the “will of God”? It made no sense. A God of that kind could not conceivably be worthy of man’s love.

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