evil

I just visited Twitter to respond to a friend’s tweet, and after five minutes I think I contracted ADD. That site is nuts! In the spirit of our diminishing attention spans–Look, squirrel!–I will now attempt to say something meaningful about the problem of evil in an Our Daily Journey devotional that is approximately 300 words. You may not think I’ve succeeded, but I suspect that if you spend ten minutes on Twitter and then come back and read it again, it might start to look pretty good.

read > Job 1:1-2:10

Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship (1:20).

The problem of evil is the number one reason people give for not believing in God. They assume that a good God would not want evil and an omnipotent God would be able to keep it out, so the existence of evil means God is either not all good or not all powerful. And so they conclude that God does not exist. This is a tragic mistake, for the existence of evil is the best reason I know to believe in Jesus. Christians cannot solve the problem of evil—no one can—but we can say more about it than anyone else.

First, theism trumps atheism. Consider the horror of believing that evil exists but not God. If the world is a series of random events, what would keep us from being struck by the ricocheting pinball of death? Every time we leave our homes we’re assuming it’s safe enough to venture out. We live as if there is a God who governs our world and holds our lives in his hands.

This conviction inspired Job to challenge God, “Tell me the charge you are bringing against me. What do you gain by oppressing me?” (Job 10:2-3). Imagine Job’s plight if he didn’t believe in God. Where would he go with his complaint?

Second, Christianity trumps every other theism. Christians have a transcendent God who makes our lives secure, and we also have a suffering God who understands what we’re going through. Jesus “understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do” (Hebrews 4:15). And “since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested” (Hebrews 2:18).

We don’t know why God allows evil but we know that He allows evil to get to Him. No one has suffered more from evil than Jesus, so when you pour out your pain to God, you cry out to a God who gets it. Do you believe in evil? Then you’d best believe in Jesus.

4 Comments

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  1. Job asked God for an answer. God never really answered Job’s questions. Instead God gave Job Himself…

  2. Bill: I think you’re right and I even preach that. Our new OT prof John Hilber adds that God’s answer is also in how he told Job that he controls the chaos monster of evil (Leviathan). God’s zoological foray assured Job that he has set boundaries around evil, beyond which it cannot go.

  3. As I often say, “All that ‘twitters’ is not gold.”

    Tackling the subject of theodicy and offering a solid biblical answer in 300 words or less is priceless. Almost golden …

  4. Great stuff! I remember studying this in Sys 1. This is the hands down number one thing I’m asked by other Christians and non-Christians alike. Where is God when evil happens? Job has much to teach us. Thanks!

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