Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Good News in a World of Tragically Bad News

Nothing takes God by surprise; no evil perpetrated by mankind, no natural event, no joy or sorrow that visits human hearts. When God shattered the silence with His thundering, “Let there be . . .,” (or was it a whisper – a mere thought?) and unleashed upon the void the power of His image (and His imagination), all that ever would exist rushed to be included in that first attosecond of explosive creation. What we call evolution is merely the resolution – the working out – of an image that existed in the mind of God before the start of time.

If I have freewill – and I believe I do – its existence did not prevent God from knowing, before He created me (along with everything else in that initial “let there be”) what I would do with it. He did not, I believe, wish me to do evil, but He did wish me to be free so that, if I chose to do so, I could willfully love and serve Him. But I could willfully love Him only if He gave me the possibility to not love and serve him.

So, the God who numbers the hairs on every human head, foresaw the course of every speck of solar dust, likewise knew the path each human soul would take. He did not dictate that path, but like an observant parent – but infinitely more knowing than any human parent – He could say with certainty the way that every human soul would go.

Then why didn’t He choose to create only those who would love and serve him?

That is a hard question to answer, but someday soon – and to some degree already – human parents may stand where God stood. With infinitely less knowledge of the future than God had, and far less understanding of the nature of their potential offspring, parents will decide what characteristics to allow their children to have; or whether to allow them to live at all.

 It was an awful day (in the ancient sense of that term) in the course of human history when Cain assigned himself the place of God, became the human arbiter of life and death, and made a choice God Himself refused to make. Faced with the “choice of Cain” God granted life to those whom He knew were destined to do evil as well as those who would do good. Of course, He knew what modern science has yet to learn; that good and evil are two sides of the same coin; that evil cannot be destroyed without doing damage to the good. The “tares” cannot be removed without damaging the wheat.

We stand, appalled at the evil of our world, too often forgetting the “little evils” we perpetrate from day to day, and ask, “God, why? Why did you allow this ‘great evil’ to be? Why didn’t you eliminate evil from your creation?” But we must consider that a creation without evil would be a creation without us. God is a redeemer, and He knows that some evil creatures can be redeemed; some of the most horrifically evil creatures can be redeemed. You and I can be redeemed. It is hard for us, who have judged ourselves “less evil” than the worst, to endure the evil of those who are “far more evil than we.” It is hard for us to believe that God would even want to redeem them, or that they would accept redemption. But how glorious will be the praise of our God when we see the “chiefest of sinners” made clean through the redeeming grace of God in Christ.

There is little comfort in a time of evil; only pain and sorrow. Comfort comes later, with reflection. And it comes only to those who mourn, not just for the pain and loss they, or others have suffered, but for the brokenness of all humanity. Those who mourn for the sinfulness of our world will be reminded of their own sin, but more, that God, in Christ, is redeeming sinners.

You are (and I am) the reason God did not eliminate all evil from His creation; He knew that you (and I) would someday choose to serve and love him – willfully. That is the only truly Good News in a world of tragically bad news.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Jim. I have not had time to open your blog for weeks because of being so busy. However, tonight I needed comfort in this world gone awry and your words touched me as I needed. I suspect someday we will understand. Until then, we live by faith.


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