WHY DIDN’T GOD STOP ADOLPH HITLER?
Dr. David Eisenbach, an atheist from Columbia University, posed these questions on Veritas Forum to a well-known Christian author. I was disappointed with his answers. Here is the way I would have answered Eisenbach’s question.
Question from Dr. Eisenbach: “I went through 8 years of Catholic school, the Sisters of Charity, and I got professional religious education. Then I had 4 years of Jesuit prep school and at the end of 12 years of religious education, I’m an atheist. Then I came to Columbia.
“The sticking point of religious education for me was the Holocaust. I looked at that and said, how is it possible that 6 million could be exterminated in the course of a war that took 60 million lives and there could be a God? How do you answer that? How could God allow that kind of evil and suffering?”
My answer: First of all, there are a number of false assumptions and obvious contradictions in your question based on the worldview you claim to hold. So, it’s going to take some work to unpack them all. Since you started with Roman Catholicism, I’d like to start there too.
Frankly, if I went to Catholic school for 12 years, and if I thought the Roman Catholic concept of God was correct, I’d be an atheist too!
I don’t know how familiar you are with why the Protestant Reformation took place, but thanks to the theologians who studied the Word of God, they rejected Roman Catholicism more than 500 years ago. Luther had 95 good reasons for protesting Roman doctrine (which he nailed to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church for all to see).
Secondly, it is common knowledge that Catholic seminaries do not study Biblical theology as much as they study the doctrines of Roman Catholicism. Those are two completely different subjects.
So, based on your own testimony, you did not receive an adequate answer on the Holocaust from your Catholic professors and as a result, you’re an atheist. That I completely understand and now we’re making progress.
Unfortunately, blaming your Catholic training for being an atheist doesn’t help your case. This excuse was first used back in the Garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve sinned, God looked at Adam, and Adam pointed to Eve and said, “It’s her fault, and you’re the one who gave her to me!” The Bible says, no man will stand before Him with any excuse for unbelief (Rom. 1:18-20).
As for your question, “Why didn’t God stop Adolph Hitler?” You assume too much. I have two questions for you on this point:
- What evidence can you provide to prove your claim that God did not stop Adolph Hitler?
- How was the German war machine finally stopped?
Historians tell us that the Russian winter played a major role in putting an end to the war. The massive losses Germany sustained by trying to invade Russia during a brutal winter crippled the German resources.
In what may be the oldest book in the Bible, written thousands of years before Hitler was born, in Job 38:22, God was answering a man just like you who was questioning God’s justice:
Have you entered the treasury of snow, or have you seen the treasury of hail, which I have reserved for the time of trouble, For the day of battle and war?
Wow! Here is compelling evidence from the Bible that God did stop Adolph Hitler!
One of the ways God can control the outcome of a war is by controlling the weather. My next question for you is:
- Did your Jesuit professors ever show you that verse when discussing WWII?
Point: Now let’s follow your question through to its logical conclusion. If God should have stopped Adolph Hitler, then He should have stopped Stalin, Chairman Mau, and many others as well, right?
Shouldn’t He have also stopped the Khmer Rouge, and the Japanese attack against Pearl Harbor, and 9-11? What about all the serial killers like Charles Manson, and Richard Spec, and Columbine, and millions of other atrocities in man’s history?
Isn’t what you are really asking is, “Why doesn’t God remove all the evil people from the world?” Okay, where do you draw the line? Should God stop only murderers or should he stop rapists too? Then shouldn’t He also stop child abusers, armed robbers, and domestic violence? Where do you draw the line?
The 6th commandment is: “Thou shall not murder.” How many people would you have to murder to be a murderer? The 7th commandment is: “Thou shall not commit adultery.” Jesus said; adultery begins in the heart with lust.
Just take the 8th and 9th commandments, not to steal and not to lie. Can you imagine what our world would be like if everyone stopped stealing and stopped lying tomorrow? Much of our political and judicial system is based on the lie that the best liar wins!
Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever taken something that did not belong to you? Have you ever entertained a lustful thought about someone else’s wife?
So, if God removed all the evil people from this world using His perfect standard, are you suggesting that you would still be here? Thank God He doesn’t remove all the evil people in the world because based on His standard, none of us would be here.
Point: As for Hitler, as an atheist, are you saying what Hitler did was evil? So, there is such a thing as evil? How would you know anything was evil unless you had a standard of good to measure it against?
Here is where your question really exposes the blatant contradiction in your worldview. Atheism has no absolute standard of good or evil. In order to say what Hitler did was evil, you would have to abandon your worldview and borrow from mine. Only the Biblical worldview says that murder is absolutely wrong. It’s wrong because the author of life, the Creator of mankind who is also the supreme authority over the entire universe says so. Human life is sacred because a holy God created it.
Only in the Biblical worldview since only there do we find the idea that human beings are valuable because they are made in the image of God and God so loved us that Jesus Christ died to pay for our sin.
All men die because all men sin. So, the only way God can legally forgive you without compromising His justice (if God overlooked even one sin He would be unjust) is if a sinless person dies for you. It makes perfect sense. In your worldview, there is no foundation for justice and no need for it.
Point: Well, just when you think it couldn’t get any worse, it does. You and Hitler have something in common you both hold dear. Hitler was a Darwinian evolutionist who believed that he was expediting the evolutionary process by exterminating the weaker races. What’s wrong with that?
So, now I’m really confused but you can help me. You can’t have it both ways. So, who is right, Charles Darwin or Jesus Christ? Only Christianity says that man is so infinitely valuable that God was willing to send His own Son to die in our place.
Hitler was only doing what he thought was expedient based on his evolutionary worldview. And according to your view, he cannot and should not be punished since he was right in his own eyes. Who are we to judge? The Bible condemns this philosophy again and again. Here is one example from Judges 17:6,
In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
That is precisely what your philosophy is espousing. That’s not tolerance, that’s insanity.
A lion kills to eat, that’s the survival of the fittest. Since we are no different than the animals, why was the world shocked by the gruesome exploits of murder, necrophilia, and dismemberment committed by Jeffery Dahmer as he murdered, dismembered and cannibalized 17 young men in Milwaukee in 1991? After all, a man’s got to eat, right?
Dahmer said He saw nothing wrong in what he did since he was an evolutionist and did not believe in God. He understood the implications of his worldview perfectly, why don’t you?
The state of Wisconsin does not carry the death penalty, so Dahmer was given a life sentence. But even the maximum security inmate (a convicted murderer himself) believed that killing Dahmer was justifiable homicide. They executed him on November 9th, 1994. But if there is no God, it doesn’t matter. But it does matter and everyone knows it matters.
So, your charge is that God cannot exist because of what Adolph Hitler did? But this is circular reasoning. We know God exists because we know these things are evil. Without an absolute standard of right and wrong, evil would be a relative term, but relative to what? There is a universal moral code. Well, since God is the author of life, He has the right to give life and in His sovereignty, He has the right to take it anytime He wants to without consulting you or me. God is letting sin run its course for several reasons:
As high as the heavens are about the earth His ways are above our ways.
He is perfectly just and the justifier of those who have faith in Him.
Why didn’t God stop Hitler sooner?
God knows everything there is and everything there could be. He knows how everyone would have lived their lives even if they die prematurely.
God also knows that some people are so hard-hearted and so enamored by the world that they give no thought of Him until a wake-up-call from hell comes to remind us that life is short, sin is deadly, hell is real and Jesus saves!
For example, you’ve heard the expression that there are no atheists in foxholes? Well, take a guess at what happened to church attendance the week of 9-11-01. Why? Because sometimes it takes a tragedy for people to see their need of God; such as when a loved one is sick, or similar things.
Getting back to Hitler, God must let sin run its course so when it’s all over no one will ever doubt His right to rule. God is going to judge the world in righteousness.
SO WHO HAS THE ANSWERS?
Christianity contains the greatest moral code known to man. What would happen if we all stopped lying and stealing tomorrow? What if we all loved our neighbors as ourselves? That concept did not originate with Charles Darwin, that came from Jesus Christ.
Hindus and Buddhists are taught the doctrine of Karma. You don’t help suffering people because it will only prolong their suffering.
Islam teaches that it’s pleasing to God if you murder people who refuse to convert to Islam or want to leave.
Atheism has no moral code, it cannot. Where would it come from and what would it be based on? If morality is relative, my question is, “Relative to what?” The only answer the atheists come up with is the culture, or whatever is best for the majority.
Okay, so, you’re stranded on an island with an island on each side of you. On one island they believe in loving your neighbor and on the other, human meat is considered a delicacy. Which group do you prefer? Why?