Monday's newspaper headlines in Europe asked the question, "Where was God?" Pope Benedict XVI gave an introspective speech at the Auschwitz concentration camp on his last day in Poland. The Pope was making a pilgrimage to the homeland of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II.
Twice in the speech Benedict addressed the question of why did not God step in and prevent the extermination of more than six million Jews during the Holocaust of World War II. Here are his comments:
In a place like this, words fail; in the end, there can only be a dread silence - a silence which is itself a heartfelt cry to God: Why, Lord, did you remain silent? How could you tolerate all this?...How many questions arise in this place! Constantly the question comes up: Where was God in those days? Why was he silent? How could he permit this endless slaughter, this triumph of evil?
Why evil exists in this world has always been the question of the ages. Not having a satisfactory answer has caused many to lose faith in the God of the Bible. The two great wars of the twentieth century left many with a void where faith once reigned. Europe today is a spiritual wasteland. It is easy to understand why newspapers would seize on this question raised by the Catholic leader in a place of unspeakable horror.
Answering this question requires a fresh look at the Bible and what God tells us about His purpose and plan for mankind. Most do not know that God gave man the freedom of choice. The choice has always been between two ways of life, one of giving and serving, the other of taking and oppression. The one is a way of love, the other is a way of evil. Two ways of life are presented in the opening pages of the Bible. Man's choice to follow his own reason, a way of taking and oppression, has led to the all the evils of of human history.
You can read a fuller account of why God has allowed evil and suffering in our booklet, "Why Does God Allow Suffering". I suggest you read this as a starting point to understanding why evil seems to reign in our world. God is not to blame and His purpose is not to be questioned. It only needs to be understood.