Recently, a long-time acquaintance asked me about evil – a fair question as we endure the horrific impact of the COVID-19 virus. For over 50 years, the problem of evil has remained the central puzzle (both professionally and personally) since I have come to believe that God does not hide. He does want to be known!
Many theologies avoid this subject of evil to my great dissatisfaction… nevertheless, this remains one of the most troubling hurdles in believer’s lives, and is most often avoided.
One of the common questions include: How would we know God is Just without injustice? I think you can know justice without needing injustice. Here are a few examples:
- You do not need ugly to fully enjoy beauty.
- When something is being used the way it’s designed, you do not need to see the misuse to appreciate the usefulness.
- When training agents to recognize counterfeit money, they only study the true and authentic dollar bill – because then any deviation from that becomes glaringly obvious.
Phillip Yancey (in short) says, God’s problem is not that He is not powerful. No…His problem is that He loves. So on that note, I think the seminal issue is around what is comprised in a healthy, robust, hardy life-giving relationship is simply that it is chosen, not coerced in any manner.
What this means is that in order for a relationship to be authentic/real with another, including the Holy here, it cannot be manipulated. God is not an interventionist God, so evil hinges on the choice to turn from connection to autonomy. We are made to be in relationship, but after the time in the Garden of Eden, when we chose control over trust, we opened the door to evil. The core here is to be responsible for the consequences of the choices we’ve been given the freedom to make.
All evil is Non-Sense!! This is why . . .
- We cannot frame an answer that satisfies,
- We can learn to focus our energy on the redemptive side.
I have a short way that I now think about this:
1) God is absolutely good…no darkness (evil) in Him at all!! Which means He does not generate evil and is not on a continuum with evil. Evil is a created being that fell/wanted to be god. God does not generate evil in any form – for any reason – ever!
2) He enters evil when man has brought it into the context. Why? Because He is God and does not lose control simply because we reject Him and His ways, thus generating this evil. When He gets involved in this manner then, and only then, can evil be…
3) . . Redeemed! His involvement in these last two phases demonstrates His great love for us. Remember, His desire is to share life with us and that means it cannot be mechanized in any way. We get to choose to reject or accept His design. When we reject it over and over, the product is “turning us over” to our own created consequences, thus evil. Case in point – Pharaoh’s consequences of his hard heart, Israel’s wanting a King, etc.
Choices matter, and nowhere does it matter as much as here.
God wants us to live…fully…yet we, in wanting to be gods like the fallen being Satan, actually destroy the access to His life.
Alive because of God’s Grace…