The world is unfair and we have a strong desire to blame it on someone! The way I see it we have two choices: it’s either nobody’s fault or it’s God’s fault.
I know, that sounds strange, but just hear me out.
Each one of us, for the most part, fall into one of two general belief systems: those who believe there is a God and those who, well, believe there isn’t.
If there is no God then our existence can simply be traced back to matter and chance – evolutionary biology. And here’s the thing: In this scenario, as much as we would like to find someone to blame for the state the world is in, there’s just no one to be found. The world is unfair, no doubt. But, we are forced to chalk it up to chance or fate–we were just simply dealt a bad hand.
On the other hand, if we believe that there is a God who made us, then even though life is unfair, at least we have someone to blame it on, right?
At first glance the “there is no God camp” seems more appealing, or at the very least more plausible. We came from nothing, we have no purpose and therefore it would make sense that the world is screwed up and unfair, right?
But immediately I see two problems with this belief: First of all, just about every one of us would agree that it is scientifically impossible for something to come from nothing, even if we do chalk it up to billions of years. Given enough time anything can happen, right? I’m not convinced.
But let’s say for the sake of argument, we choose to overlook the issue of origin.
We still can’t escape the most glaring problem confronting the athiest claim- that we all have something hardwired inside of us that both expects fairness and pre-supposes meaning.
We all know this to be true.
As soon as someone cuts in front of us in line, we cry out “That’s not fair”.
Moreover, we are all born with a desire for our life to be significant; We want to make a difference.
But without a higher power establishing a standard of morality, we have no way to label anything as fair or unfair. Not if we are simply putting our faith in the time and chance argument.
And try as we might, a worldview that excludes God has no ability to account for our desire for meaning.
Which brings us back to the question of who to blame for the unfair and often cruel world we find ourselves in. If something can’t come from nothing and we find that we have a built in sense of fairness and purpose, it seems pretty clear that God made us and is therefore to blame for the mess around us.
In fact, if we open the Bible, this is just what we discover, the kings and prophets of old calling into question God’s justice:
“I saw the tears of the oppressed— and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors— and they have no comforter.
And I declared that the dead, who had already died, are happier than the living, who are still alive.
But better than both is the one who has never been born, who has not seen the evil that is done under the sun.” (Ecclesiates 4:1-3)
“You are always righteous, Lord, when I bring a case before you. Yet I would speak with you about your justice:
Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease?” (Jeremiah 12:1)
“Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? (Habbakuk 1:3)”
So what is God’s response to this very valid complaint? Isaiah 1 gives us some perspective on this vexing problem. Here we see that rather than apologizing for the evil that is present in the world, the LORD tells His people to stop doing wrong and to start doing what they know to be just and good.
“Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong.
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” (Isaiah 1:16-17)
In saying this God reminds us that it is not Him who is the cause of evil in the world, but us; God is perfect after all.
Why is the world messed up? Because God chose to give us free will. Good and evil is a choice–it always has been.
If we look at the center of the heart of God as revealed to us in scripture, we see a God who calls for justice, who defends the weak, and shows Himself strong on behalf of the orphan and the widow.
And He calls us to do the same.
Yes, life is unfair. But rather than complain about it, God challenges us to represent His heart to a hurting world. We are part of the solution. And if that does not give us meaning and purpose in life, I don’t know what does!