How God Sees Bad News

By Kerry Duke

We hear a lot of bad news. War. Rape. Child abuse. Drug abuse. Sexual immorality. Perversion. Theft. Corruption. The information age of television, radio, newspapers, and the internet brings the world’s evils into our homes and lays them in our lap.

When people tell us about these evils, we feel overwhelmed and depressed. The weight of hearing about all these problems constantly is almost more than our minds can bear. When men talk about these troubles, we get the news, but no hope.

When we read the Bible we find the same dark side of man. The Bible does not avoid subjects that are shocking. It records many of the atrocities we hear from the media. We only read a few pages of the Bible until we read a case of murder in a family. A couple of chapters later corruption was so bad and so widespread that God destroyed the earth with a flood. In the chapters that follow we read about drunkenness, homosexuality, attempted rape, and incest. In the remainder of the Old Testament we see accounts of child sacrifice, mutilation, bestiality, and sorcery. The Author of the Bible is very open about the evil side of mankind. Our world has been in a mess since Adam and Eve sinned.

But there is something different about reading these verses in the Bible. It records many of the same atrocities we hear on the news, but you don’t feel depressed when you read them. You don’t feel anxious and insecure. You don’t feel overwhelmed. How can this be when the Bible and media mention the same troubles?

You might say the difference is that the Bible talks about these sins in a dignified and tactful way whereas the media presents them in an overly explicit and even embarrassing way. This is a point to consider. The Bible speaks of some of the most private and even disgusting subjects without being offensive. But there is something else.

When you read the Bible accounts of these evils you cannot help but be impressed with the calmness and brevity with which the Author describes them. There is remarkable composure in the One who talks about these situations. You get the distinct idea that the One who wrote this book is in control. Even when the men who wrote the Bible were alarmed, the God who inspired them was not. The Scriptures present some of the worst things people can do, but they do so with a composure that is unmistakable. Reading about horrific crimes in the Bible does not leave us feeling distressed and overburdened because God is in control and already knows how all things will turn out in the end.

It is not that God is unconcerned about these evils when He talks about them. He hates them. But He does not speak as if He is the least bit uncertain about their outcome. The overall tone is matter of fact and marked by great restraint.

It is astonishing that man and God talk about the same things from such completely different perspectives. Man’s presentation of bad news offers no solution and extends no hope. When God talks about these things, He does so with authority. Even when we read about the darkest side of mankind in the Bible, we come away with peace and assurance because we are listening to the Creator talk about it.

This may not be a proof of the inspiration of the Bible, but it is at least a consequence of it and may point in that direction. It is certainly why we should listen to the news less and read the Bible more.

(Kerry serves as minister for the West End church of Christ in Livingston, Tennessee, and as Dean of Tennessee Bible College).