In a busted world, there is hope even amidst the brokenness.
Okay, so here's my frame again. I guess technically it's mine, as I've never seen it anywhere else, but any Truth contained therein is God's.
This is the frame I use to answer the questions I get that start with, "Why would God...?" I get those a lot. When I do and I have a moment to explain my response, I give them the four pieces of this frame before dealing with the particular question. Granted, people can reject the frame or the answer that comes because of it, but I don't have a better way of helping them understand life today and life forever and how they both work if not by this framework. Today, I'll take the second piece of the frame and give a brief explanation of it.
All of life has to be understood inside this frame. You get the canvas to paint your life, but its limits are set by these four truths. The second is the truth of the Broken World.
Sometimes I even start with this one. It's the easiest to prove because everyone, and I do mean everyone, has a recent, painful experience with the brokenness of the world. You can see it in headlines. You can hear it in coffee conversations. You can taste it in the bitter words that sometimes flow from the broken lives.
But the world wasn't designed in a busted state. Every major philosophical effort and religious dogma wrestles with the question of evil in the world. That simply proves my earlier point: brokenness is easily verified. I think the Bible contains the best answer - the one that makes the most sense, has made the most sense for a long time, and points to a way out.
The Bible teaches two basic things about Creation. First of all, the Personal God who made it actually made it good. I'm not up for a debate on how He made it. That debate is really quite boring to me. I am up for the fact that He made it and made it good. He got to the end of His process and declared it to be very good.
The second thing the Bible teaches us about Creation is that it was marred and mangled in the Fall of Mankind. When our first parents, Adam and Eve, were deceived and then fell, one of the results was that sin entered the world, not just the human heart. All of it was subjected to the same futility and perversion. Thus cancer (which is a perversion of healthy cells) is a result of the Fall. Natural disasters are evidences of the earth groaning and longing to be set free from its bondage so it can honor God (cf. Romans 8.20ff). Our relationship to God, to one another, to the physical world, and to the spiritual world were all stained with sin. Everything is busted.
Why do bad things happen in this world? Why does BP cut corners and cause and eco-disaster? Why do the execs on Wall Street take millions in bonuses while fleecing the government and their customers and their employees? Why do government officials wrap themselves in scandals of every kind? Why does a mother from the DFW Metroplex kill her autistic child and then call 911? Why does an earthquake kill thousands and displace over a million in Haiti? Why does a TV "evangelist" then blame said earthquake on a rumor, thus slandering Jesus as well as His people?
Because the world is broken.
But the Personal God who made it and called it good was and is not content to leave it that way. Which is why there is a third piece to the frame.