It’s a time of soul-searching in America. The first anniversary of September 11 is a sobering reminder:
- A reminder of sin.
- A reminder that it’s a groaning world (Romans 8:19-23).
- A reminder that death is universal.
- A reminder that this nation needs God.
Most people can see these things, but they still can’t explain why God would allow such suffering and death. Sadly, those who teach that the world is millions of years old don’t have real answers, either. By believing in millions of years, they have made death a permanent part of this world.
The statistics seem to reinforce this pessimistic view. Over 3,000 people are presumed dead as a result of the terrorist attacks on September 11. On that same day—and each day thereafter, the world has seen
- 126,000 children killed by abortion (3,600 die daily in the US alone).
- 24,000 people die of hunger.
- 6,020 children die of diarrheal disease.
Furthermore, in just six years, the world has watched
- about 52 million people die of preventable hunger.
- approximately 25,000 people die from acts of terrorism.
These statistics aren’t meant to downplay the significance of September 11. They’re just further reminders of the personal suffering that families endure quietly each day, in every corner of the Earth. Everyone eventually comes face-to-face with his or her mortality.
Fortunately, the Book of Genesis has answers for suffering—real answers. All these grim statistics make sense if you accept the Bible’s “history of human sorrow”, which begins with Adam’s Fall in Genesis, and ends with God’s Final Judgment in Revelation. To Christian believers, September 11 is a stark reminder that the world was once perfect, but Adam’s rebellion introduced an “enemy” into creation—death (1 Corinthians 15:26).
The Bible does more than explain death and suffering; it also gives us hope. Answers in Genesis posted a commentary on the day of the terrorist attacks to explain this hope. If we believe in the Bible’s account of a perfect creation and a sinless Savior, then we can see September 11 as an encouraging reminder:
- A reminder that God is sovereign—He allows tragedies to awaken us.
- A reminder of our own personal need for salvation.
- A reminder of Christ’s love in coming to die for us.
- A reminder that the One who conquered death has ultimate power to save us.
So the story is not all grim. God is in control, and He can use suffering to accomplish good. Since September 11, stories of heroism and faith have trickled out. Many thousands of Christians have dedicated themselves to spreading the Gospel with renewed zeal, and many people have turned to God for salvation. In an interview with Ken Ham (Genesis at Ground Zero), a New York police officer named Ralph DiCosimo gave a moving testimony of how his knowledge of the Bible’s history enabled him to succor searching souls. Immediately after the tragedy, Answers in Genesis was privileged to donate tens of thousands of the booklet Is there really a God? to churches at Ground Zero, which used these booklets to give solid answers for hurting people (see AiG’s “Relief Effort” to New York City!).
Like other Christian ministries, we at Answers in Genesis have tried to do all we could to help. In the wake of this tragedy, for instance, we produced a new witnessing booklet Why is there death and suffering? Soon after the tragedy, Ken Ham and Dr Carl Wieland also wrote a unique book aimed at individuals who are going through private suffering. The book, called Walking Through Shadows: Finding Hope in a World of Pain, details these two men’s personal tragedies—a devastating car crash and a brother’s death from an incurable brain disease—showing how God can give real hope in the midst of pain and suffering.
We join many others who are praying that God will bring much good out of the tragic events of September 11, especially as Christians use this opportunity to spread the hope of the Gospel, grounded on the true history of God’s Word. We have heard about many opportunities that believers anticipate to have during commemoration ceremonies, such as Ed Adkins, a chaplain in New York, who recently wrote to us, “I am one of the workers being recalled to Ground Zero for the anniversary ceremony on Wednesday. If opportunities arise, I am prepared with a message of hope. Please pray for me on Wednesday as I am expecting a long, emotional day.”
September 11 is a solemn reminder about our need to pray for one another in our efforts to give real answers to a troubled nation. We pray that Christians will continue to share the truth about why there is pain and suffering and death—and how sinners can find hope in the midst of a suffering world.