Today’s Daily Light
Confronting the Problem(s) of Evil Part II (Friends….part 2…if need be go back to part 1 and regain the contextual momentum…I encourage you to absorb and work through this series…it will greatly strengthen your ‘faith’ grip 😊)
Does disaster befall a city unless the Lord has done it (Amos 3:6)? What about a school? I don’t say that lightly. I realize what I’m saying. Or rather, I know what the Scriptures are saying. I’ve wept with parents as they watched their child die slowly of an incurable disease. I’ve watched dementia rob me of my
father, taunting me and my family with his slow death. I realize that confessing God’s absolute sovereignty over all things, including the pain in my lower back and the cruel disease stalking my dad and the horrific actions of a wicked man in Connecticut, is hard to fathom. But I’m not helped at all by removing God from the equation, by making him a spectator watching the tragedy unfold on CNN like the rest of us. If he can’t keep evil from happening on the front end, then how can he possibly bring us comfort on the back end?
It’s questions like these that have driven me again and again to the Scriptures. And what I’ve found there is a wealth of help in navigating the problem(s) of evil (there’s not just one, you know).
There’s the biblical-theological problem: What does the Bible teach on God’s goodness and the reality of evil, and how can we coherently put the pieces together?
There’s the philosophical problem: What is the relationship between creation, sovereignty, causation, freedom, and moral responsibility? God is all-wise, all-powerful, and all-good. Why then does evil exist?
And then there’s the real problem, the deepest problem, the one that in many ways drives the others and maintains their potency. I mean the emotional problem of evil. I mean the deep and profound revulsion we feel toward pain, the sense of outrage that we feel when we witness blatant atrocities and horrific suffering. I mean the howl of the soul that echoes in the recesses of our being when we’re confronted with cancer, genocide, hurricanes, rape, fatal car wrecks, school shootings, earthquakes, sex-trafficking, and the institutionalized murder of the weakest members of the human race. Whatever solution we pose to the theological and philosophical problem of evil should also at least attempt to address the psychological, emotional, and pastoral questions that well up in our hearts and minds.
This essay is an attempt to do just that. Here, at Christmas time, a season of grief and sorrow as well as expectation and hope, among a people who have eaten their fill of tears, I’d like to make a humble and serious attempt to wrestle with the problem(s) of evil, to shed light on this perpetual and vexing challenge to the coherence of our faith and the integrity and of our hearts.