Deathisdefeated

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

Emmanuel - God With Us.

When we consider the problem of why there is evil in the world, alongside that question we need to ask also why there is good!

If God only created one choice, that of choosing good, then there would be no choice at all. As Augustine put it:

"Such is the generosity of God's goodness that He has not refrained from creating even that creature which He foreknew would not only sin, but remain in the will to sin. As a runaway horse is better than a stone which does not run away because it lacks self-movement and sense perception, so the creature is more excellent which sins by free will than that which does not sin only because it has no free will."

So then, we still ask questions about evil, and why God doesn't do something about it. After all, when little children are gunned down, or when a supposedly "good" person loses his or her life while doing good, and it seems as if the forces of evil prevail, then our hearts cry out and ask "Why, Lord?"

But the question has already been answered, if we will but look at Emmanuel, God with us.

Before we accepted Jesus, we were truly without hope, because we were without God. God was far away. He was not "with us". But He is now! In the person of Jesus, God came to be "with us". And, where God is, evil is not present.

But the scoffer would say "That's fine, but I still know that bad things happen to good people, even people of God who have Jesus with them"

Fair enough.

But was Jesus Himself familiar with evil? Yes He was. From the time He was born, violence was all around. Herod ordered the murder of infants in Bethlehem. If it were not for Jesus' parents heeding the warning to leave Bethlehem, Jesus may have been one of those casualties, but it was not yet Jesus' time, that was for later. In due time, God did not even spare His own Son, in that He allowed Jesus to suffer the ultimate indignity by dying on a cross of torture.

So, was that "fair"?

No, of course it wasn't. It wasn't fair that the only innocent human should have to suffer violence and death in a hideous way. But He did, and He did with full assent of His Father, and full compliance with His Father's will.

So why did God NOT prevent it?

Because to have prevented it would have allowed evil to triumph! If evil had triumphed, God would have shown that He is not omnipotent, and that He does not have full control of everything, including evil.

The ultimate triumph of good over evil happened at the resurrection of Jesus. The power of the grave was broken, and fear of death no longer had the rule.

So fast forward to us today. We who are in Christ are told that we have passed from death to life. We have been resurrected, from an "old man" to a "new man" So we, too, have shared in His death. Our life is no longer our own, because we are bought and paid for.

If then evil visits us, what of it? Can it take our eternal life? No, absolutely not! Can it cause us to lose our salvation? No, absolutely not, for our life is sealed in Christ, who has all power.

Where then does evil have its power over us? I suppose the answer to that has to do with how one reacts to it. We are told from scripture that whoever we follow, that person has the power over us. If evil visits us or our household, or we see it happen to the ones we love, the sorrow is very real. Evil is ugly, and it hurts. Jesus also saw evil in the faces of His torturers, yet He still loved them when He asked the Father to forgive them. Jesus reacted to evil by overcoming it with love.

We are not promised that evil will not come upon us. Innocent or not, bad things still do happen to good people.

But yet, God is with us. Good is present for those in whom God is well pleased. The Comforter makes it possible to survive all evil. In fact, it not only makes it possible to survive, but to thrive.

In the universe God designed, He made evil as a necessary thing. He did it so that we could, in faith, make the decision to follow that which is good, and turn our backs on evil. But He did not leave us defenseless. He gave us Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us. All things do indeed work together for good, to those who are called, who are in Christ, and He in them.

Views: 78

Comment by jjkratt on January 26, 2013 at 5:03pm

Doug, thanks for writing this. I found it to be very good and helpful.

Jerel

Comment by Doug on January 26, 2013 at 7:04pm

Thank you Jerel for commenting. The lack of comments made me wonder if I what I wrote was interesting to people. This question of evil has been onthe monds of great thinkers since time began, I suppose.

But what many miss is that evil really is necessary for creatures who have free will. As I think about it, the first thing God told Adam and Eve was to choose good, not the knowledge of evil. The choice of good was symbolized by the Tree of Life, of which God did not prohibit them from taking. They instead chose death, which a creature of free will (by God's design and plan) can and does choose. over and over again.

I know of course that the common question parents might ask if a child dies is typically "How can a good God allow this to happen"? Seen through God's eyes the answer is that "God so loved the world, that He gave His only son, to die, so that we may live, and not die forever" (my paraphrase of John 3:16) With out limited eyes, all we see and feel is the pain. But God is a "good God", and He DID provide an "out", so that death would not prevail. Physical death now, with Christ, is not the victor. That's because SPIRITUAL death, which truly WOULD be the greatest sorrow one could bear and would be necessary without Christ, HAS been provided for, and there is no need to ask God "why?". Instead, a man or woman who experiences great tragedy in this life, but who knows of the hope of eternal life in Christ, can confidently experience "God With Us", and know that evil does not prevail on the other side of this life. It SEEMS to, but that is limited to the temporary and physical. There is no pain which lasts forever in Christ. But there IS JOY forever in Christ.

So the best answer we can give when people ask about the presence of evil, is that evil is necessary for creatures that God made so that free will can also be granted. For those who choose good, until the transformation of our bodies post mortem, we won't be free of the influence of evil in our lives. So we live with other creatures who also experience evil, and that experience of sharing in their pain gives us opportunity to share the story of how God provides a future in which evil is vanquished forever. We live on this earth, sharing in its pain and evil, but we do not share in its hopelessness. In fact, we have something to give this world. The hope that is in Christ is the remedy for evil in all its forms, and it is the reason we are here.

Jerel, I am glad you found comfort in my post. Thank you.

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