Monday, April 18, 2011

The Struggle with Evil

Many call it a problem. Some call it an issue. Everyone agrees, it is bad.
Pain. Illness. Worry. Death.

What are these things? Why are they here? If God is omnipotent, omniscient, wise, loving, and merciful, why do we still have these things? Sin sucks, no doubt, but what is stopping God from stopping sin? Why does God not stop the things that hurt us? Why does God not heal the ones we love and are now missing? If God has the power to stop these things, then why do they still happen? Certainly they are not part of His will, are they? Is pain something that God wills us to go through? Are illness, worry, and death things that He wants us to experience? And if not, then why does He not stop them, why does He not mitigate them, why are they still here?

People feel alone. They are afraid that no one understands them. They want friends to provide the comfort, the healing that they are yearning for...but what human can provide comfort from loneliness at any and all times of day? If you have not already learned it, take it from one with experience: humans, even your best friends, will let you down. It may not be today, or tomorrow, or even a month from now, but it will happen. We are prone to it, prone what? to hurt? Perhaps. To disappoint? I suppose. Prone to...forget? Prone to leave?

Prone to wander, Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love

We are prone to go against God...? I think that makes sense, and it is biblical. (Tangent available: True because it is in the Bible, or in the Bible because it is true?) And if we are prone to go against God, what does that entail? Going from the description above, we are prone to go against omnipotence, omniscience, wisdom, love, and mercy. What would go be prone to go towards, then? weakness, stupidity, foolishness, hate (or indifference? probably hate), and revenge (vengeance, punishment, justice?)...? Those would seem to be opposites. And those would seem to be a fair amount of the evil that is so prevalent today. Sad.

Are humans prone to evil? Shoot son! That is quite the question, isn't it? Quite the accusation, if nothing else!
After all this, has God changed? Hebrews 13:8 says no. Malachi 3:6 would seem to also say no. Hosea 11:8 seems to show that God can, and has, and maybe still does change. Does God change? His ways are above our ways, and His thoughts are above our thoughts. If we change, is that not less than not-change? Which is 'greater' or 'better': a thing that changes, or a thing that does not change?

And if God does not change, then how does He feel when He looks on the earth? (Genesis 6:5-6 comes to mind.) But what about Luke 15? "For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate."
There is a party because of the child that was found; The child that was brought back to life. That does not suggest pain or regret.

Romans. That is what is going to happen. Keep me accountable, ask me about it, make sure it happens. I am going to post some of my thoughts on Romans. If you have suggestions of things I should look at 'extra' let me know. If you have something you want my opinion on, let me know. If you have anything else you want to tell me, let me know :)


  1. I have been thinking about God/evil lately as well. While I was reading Aquinas the chapter on God's power/will really stuck out. As you said, if God doesn't like evil then why does he allow it?

    One thought I had was that God uses evil to ultimately bring good. When I see authentic Christians many of their stories include a fall. A particular evil(s) that keep/kept them struggling from God. But through the crap of this evil they realize that they need God.

    I'm sure you've heard many stories like this. personal example, When my grandfather died I swore of God, he was dead. But ultimately God used his death (with tec) to bring me back to him. (for full story refer to my fb note on children)

    Are we prone to leave the God we love. I would say that we are prone to seek our own self interests, which almost always involves giving the Man (God) the finger and saying, 'I want to do it my way.' But, perhaps we are prone to leave Him so that we can experience life without him, only to convict us of how much we need him.

    (Interesting side comment/analogy) We are driving a car and God is the GPS unit. He is directing us to where he wants us to go. However, we are prone to want to do it our way. i.e. a right turn here will, in my opinion, will be a better choice than God's direction. We take our own opinions and desires into our routes and we come across distractions, roadblocks, traffick jams, etc.

    The upside is that, just like a GPS, when we take a wrong turn God doesn't yell at us or ignore us. He simply says, 'recalculating' and finds the new best path for us to reach His ultimate goal. The ride is better if we follow the GPS/God's directions, but even if we wander from the original path He recalculates the best path for us. The question becomes, are you listening to the GPS?

  2. The idea that evil allows for greater good to be achieved is one that we have bounced around in my other religion class.

    The GPS analogy is interesting...but I suppose that would require that we have free will ;) which would/may result in a paradox. hahaha yay philosophy!

  3. We could have a discussion about this. Lots of thoughts came up and I don't feel like writing them. The main one though, is that God loves us and He's not a forceful God. Have you ever heard the saying, "if you really love someone, you'll let them go"? I think that's what God does. Love isn't forcing someone to go your way, even though it's the best way. Love is letting them choose their own path with every hope and desire that they'll come back to you eventually.

    As for the question of why God won't end pain for us, the best I can say is that this world is imperfect. God didn't make it that way. Humans and our sinful nature made it that way. It says, too, that this world is gonna get real screwed up before God comes back. It wasn't God's original will to have us go through crap on earth, but I think that everything we are put through brings us closer to Him, and THAT is a part of His will--for us to be close to Him.

  4. I believe we did have a discussion about this! Sort of, at least. It was a good one though :)

    I think you can also make some argument that our logic is not necessarily best, or that our wisdom is not necessarily what God has in mind. He works in ways that we do not expect or understand, and I kind of like that.

    And the Spirit can speak through you, it doesn't mean that you are always speaking what God would have you say, but perhaps just in that moment, you are saying what one person (or a few people) needed to hear ;)