devotional

17DEC
2012

Evil

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God? –Epicurus (341-270 B.C.).

     It’s a question that needs answering in every generation. This is not my whole answer. I could not possibly list all the suffering that’s taken place on earth today. Wicked people and angels are surely doing the things that please them. Today, people are living with terrible pain and loss just as in every age. Twenty-seven people were murdered in Connecticut this week by an evil man. I feel for them as both a parent and as a man. How can God allow such things? People are suffering immensely. Isn’t He good? Christians should be there for them and cry with them, Romans 12:15. Maybe all they need is a person to be there with them and put their arm around them. We all need this at times. St. Paul’s knowledge of God’s sovereignty did not produce indifference in him (Romans 9:1-3) and it shouldn’t in us either. How can God allow it? We can’t pretend that God is not over it. God can stop it, but doesn’t wish to. He is not malevolent. Epicurus was wrong. There’s an answer to this problem and it’s not only appropriate in a sterile theological classroom apart from Connecticut suffering. The answers we give to suffering must be in accordance with everything outside our front doors or they’re wholly untrue everywhere. If God removed His restraint completely the world would not last a week.

     First: “Whatever the LORD pleases He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deep places,” Psalm 135:6. Nothing happens without Him. Are we to believe this only in the seminary classroom or when remembering God’s works of old to Israel? What about when evil dominates our country as it does today? We slaughter littler people wholesale and get upset when an unlicensed man does the same. Could God not prevent it? Couldn’t He at least have fixed it all up the month after Adam and Eve fell? Perhaps no one would ever suffer in hell if the Messiah had died before Cain found his wife. Why not snuff out the devil right now, or then, or simply bind him in chains as we know He one day will? Why not kill us as well and rid the universe of His “problems?” He could, but He has chosen not to. God has ordained evil to exist. He is patient and no one gets a raw deal. Yes, Satan corrupted himself and lost his freedom just as Adam did, but this was God’s intention from before the beginning. This world is no plan B. Evil always comes through the hands of the one doing it, never God, but God is not so foolish as to “allow” what He does not will. At least we must say that no evil would have the strength to persist without His granting. God does no evil, but He has complete control of His universe and everything in it. Even on 11 Sep 01 God is God. I know this is difficult, but again, if these truths are not truths as we’re staring at the crime scene photos then they’re not truths anywhere. God is over all things, even evil. His hand has complete control. Job knew this better than I do through the suffering God sent upon him, Job 12:9-10. This moral evil that killed Job’s non-innocent children and plundered his goods was at the hands of a devil bound by God in the same manner in which God set the limits of the ocean upon the shore. Job did not contend with Satan in his misery; he beseeched God. God was the one alone with whom he had to have any real answer because He’s God.

     Second: “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account,” Hebrews 4:13. God is pleased to let evil persist; that’s the only reason we’re still alive, see again Psalm 135:6. Our suffering reminds us of our sin and why Christ had to suffer on the cross. God does whatever He pleases and all evil things, both the devil and you and me, will give account to Him for what we’ve done. We do what we want to do…and so does God over us who ordained all things, Ephesians 1:11.

     God exists…Satan exists…God is sovereign…God wills Satan to exist. We must remember this both in our classrooms and inside the secure perimeters of our crime scenes. I do not wish to be insensitive to anyone who is suffering, but I'm certain that the ultimate reason for both the existence and actions of all created things must be found in God or it’s a shortsighted answer. No shortsightedness here can bring true and lasting comfort. He not only created all things, even perfect things that fell, but He sustains them each and every day. He is there where there’s sin and evil. He sees it all. Angels don’t bring the omnipresent God daily reports of sin; He Himself sees it all.

     There are many things we can and should say that help us through difficulties in our lives. We should say them. Sometimes we just can’t understand. We are made to feel each other’s pain and joy in life often. Compassion and prayer is a good thing. Suffering can drive us to God. My own suffering in life is where I’ve learned the most. It has defined me. It will not always be this way God says, but we must find our answers in God, not in any created thing. We’re guilty of sin, but God is where we must struggle to find the answer for why we suffer. Epicurus got part of the picture, but not the whole thing. I wonder if you can see God rightly in relation to this world?

     God is sovereign, not evil, and not us. Why pray if He isn’t? If God is not sovereign, then the alternative of time and chance at the random whims of evil is terrifying.

Creed
by Steve Turner

We believe in Marxfreudanddarwin
We believe everything is OK
as long as you don't hurt anyone
to the best of your definition of "hurt",
and to the best of your definition of "knowledge".

We believe in sex before, during, and
after marriage.
We believe in the therapy of sin.
We believe that adultery is fun.
We believe that sodomy’s OK.
We believe that taboos are taboo.

We believe that everything's getting better
despite evidence to the contrary.
The evidence must be investigated
And you can prove anything with evidence.

We believe there's something in horoscopes,
UFO's and bent spoons.
Jesus was a good man just like Buddha,
Mohammed, and ourselves.
He was a good moral teacher though we think
His good morals were very bad.

We believe that all religions are basically the same-
at least the one that we read was.
They all believe in love and goodness.
They only differ on matters of creation,
sin, heaven, hell, God, and salvation.

We believe that after death comes the Nothing
Because when you ask the dead what happens
they say nothing.
If death is not the end, if the dead have lied, then its
compulsory heaven for all excepting perhaps
Hitler, Stalin, and Genghis Kahn

We believe in Masters and Johnson
What's selected is average.
What's average is normal.
What's normal is good.

We believe in total disarmament.
We believe there are direct links between warfare and
bloodshed.
Americans should beat their guns into tractors .
And the Russians would be sure to follow.

We believe that man is essentially good.
It's only his behavior that lets him down.
This is the fault of society.
Society is the fault of conditions.
Conditions are the fault of society.

We believe that each man must find the truth that
is right for him.
Reality will adapt accordingly.
The universe will readjust.
History will alter.

We believe that there is no absolute truth
excepting the truth that there is no absolute truth.

We believe in the rejection of creeds,
And the flowering of individual thought.

Postscript:
If chance be the Father of all flesh,
disaster is his rainbow in the sky
and when you hear:

"State of Emergency!"

"Sniper Kills Ten!"

"Troops on Rampage!"

"Whites go Looting!"

"Bomb Blasts School!"

It is but the sound of man
worshipping his maker.

 

     

     This is part of the reason why when God sent His Son into the world He put Him on a cross and not a roller-coaster. I am forced to see this more clearly today yet again. I am grieving, but remembering the gospel. I would remind you, dear reader: Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again. Outside of Him there is no hope for humankind! 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.