I love the dilemma in all time travel stories. If anything changes in the past, what would be the ripple effect throughout time. Then there’s the real mind bender that Back to the Future toyed with but didn’t address. If Marty McFly went back and interrupted the introduction of his parents, causing him never to be born… then he would not have been around to go back and interrupt the introduction of his parents.
Of course it is impossible to know exactly what would have happened if one thing in history had changed… how it would have really impacted the present. For example, suppose you could go back and eliminate Hitler before he was ever even known to the German people… how would that have changed the present. Of course the main thing we imagine is that millions of people would not have been murdered by his regime. However, any number of possibilities exists. There were horrible things but the space and science race was born out of that era. Who knows how things would have turned out?
The obvious answer to that is God. After all, He is omniscient. He knows how one event can and will impact the future, both good and bad. He’s able to see that future, weigh the good and the bad, and impact humanity as needed. We look now at the violence and divisiveness that has risen from the militant form of Islam (even if some leaders can’t admit this). Muhammad’s early writings may have been peaceful but his later writings became increasingly violent against those who disagreed.
This entire religion stemmed from the argument of who was the rightful heir to Abraham, Ismael or Issac. If Ismael and Hagar had been allowed to die in the dessert after being banished by Abraham, none of the violent extremists would have existed, right. Yet God not only allowed him to live, but promised him a great nation as well. “And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Up! Lift up the boy, and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”” (Gen 21:17-18)
So, if an omniscient God chose to have Ishmael thrive into a great nation, despite all the evil that would eventually come from this, the good must have somehow outweighed the bad. Over the centuries, there have been significant contributions to education, science, philosophy and health care from the Islamic people. Think about the ripple effect of their contribution to medicine alone. Ahmad ibn Tulun is credited with significant advances in health care and surgery from 872 in Egypt. Think of the millions of people that have been impacted by these advances over the centuries. It can be hard to fathom.
The point is, we often see the bad influences and wonder why such a loving omniscient God would allow such thing to happen. The fact is, while we may place emphasis on the bad, He sees the good and how much more important that was in the big picture.
Here’s a real life example I live every day. I can absolutely guarantee that there will be pain when dealing with foster and adoption. Foster/Adoption parents are often on the front lines to see some of the worst parts of humanity. We will often witness the effects (if not the acts themselves) of pure evil. Knowing how tough and challenging this has been, why then to so many volunteer to do it again? Because we’re crazy? Perhaps to the outsider. But the truth is, although we’re not omniscient, we do see the wonder and joy that comes from this as well. We see the chance to impact another soul for Christ that would otherwise be lost. We experience the challenge of loving another person that shows no love back. We grow closer to God in a way that few others do. Quite simply, as bad as it can be… the good still out weighs the bad.
If God can look at a situation, knowing full well the bad that will come, and still see all the good and know it is worth it… what can we learn by looking at the world through His eyes?
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