Tuesday, October 5, 2010

More Romans 8:18-25 (Back to Theodicy)

How can evil exist in a world created by a loving God? This question can be a little harder to grapple with than the question of God’s existence, even though they are related. Yesterday we looked at the pointlessness of arguing that God is. The other side of the coin is evil. How can evil exist when we all know God does?

The approach many people take, when they concede in a divine good, is to argue that there is a balance to nature. Good has to have evil in order for it to be good. There are two equal and opposite powers. That is a wrong and false approach. For one thing it renders good as an impersonal force and merely one half of a capricious power. The true God of the universe is a personal all-powerful creator and there is no power in the universe that competes with Him for supremacy.

Another approach is to say that—if there is an all-powerful God then He must have created and caused all the evil in the world and therefore He is no loving being and the Bible is wrong. This is also a wrong and false understanding of the problem of evil—or at the very least an unbiblical one.

The Bible proposes a very different take on evil. It is found in Genesis chapter one, or its analogy is. On the first day, God creates light. He then separates light from darkness. Who created the darkness? Was it already there? Is it some eternal force, the yang to God’s ying? No. Darkness is not a thing. It was not created. It is the absence of light. In the same way, when evil comes on the scene we recognize it for what it really is—or isn’t. It was not created by God. It is not the opposite of all the good things God declared as He created and ordered them. It is the absence of good. It exists, but it is a no-thing.

God allows evil because He is a loving God. He created beings that could experience a true relationship with Him. In order for that to be the case, they had to be able to reject Him and His good way. For freedom to be real, we had to have a choice. However, He did not leave us to perish in our evil choice. He had a plan all along to free us and defeat evil. That is why the suffering we face now does not compare to the plan that God has in store for creation.

Once again, we come to the Gospel.

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