Monday, July 7, 2014

What do you think?

Equally significant here is how Jonah says it was God, not the sailors, who cast him into the deep.

Tchividjian, Tullian (2010-04-23). Surprised by Grace: God's Relentless Pursuit of Rebels (p. 67). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

I think a lot of people struggle with the idea of God being responsible for evil. I guess I have my own take on this whole idea. Here goes...

Evil was not created by God. Evil exists because good exists. Good would not be recognizable without evil, like high and low, or near and far. They are opposites, and help define each other. They are adjectives in this sense, descriptive words that define something. God is good. God is not evil.

So, used as an adjective, they describe things. In this case it is an action. God sends Jonah into the sea. An "evil" action, because it causes Jonah to suffer. Like sending His Son to the cross. Or sending a "harmful" spirit to Saul (1 Samuel 16:14). And we don't like to think of God as doing harmful or evil stuff.

But God is sovereign. He is in control of everything. Even the evil stuff. Thing about God is, He can use that evil for His own good. Like casting Jonah into the sea to be swallowed by a huge fish to be vomited up on land...you know the rest of the story. Or sending His Son to die on a cross. God is not exempt from the suffering of evil. To me, that does not make Him less God. And Scripture teaches it is because of this very fact, that Jesus did suffer, that He can fully identify with us.

Consider Job for a moment. Satan asked to have a go at him, and God granted his request, but put some limitations on it. So who is in charge? Is it Satan who requested it, or God who granted it? So when I read, "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it" I can trust that statement, because God not only knows me, He knows suffering and temptation.

Sometimes it is hard to see the good that comes out of evil things. The book makes it clear that sometimes the things we want to change do not change. A person dies of cancer. A child starves. Horrific events claim untold lives. I don't always see the good. Consider Job. Even having more at the end than at the beginning does not take away the pain of losing his children, does it? But God was there throughout. Not giving explanations or accusations. He was just there being God. And ultimately, that is what Job needed. It is what we all need.

3 comments:

KC Bob said...

I am thinking about how God has chosen to bless humans with the choice to love (or not to love). This gift can be wonderful when humans love but creates many problems (some lasting for generations) when they choose not to love. I see God not so much in the minutiae of history but in the big picture. I feel that we can trust Him not because he is in control of the bad things that happen to us but because is able to bring good when bad things happen.

Putting it another way: bad things are caused from within creation and from not outside of creation. Bad or evil things happen in the world because God has ceded some sovereignty to governments and individuals. God is good and loves humans. Yet he has permitted humans to choose to do good (i.e. to love) or to do bad (i.e. not love). To recap: God is good and always does good; man has the ability to do good but sometimes does not do good.

Lastly, I think that we do know that God is good and always does good. Any time that anyone says that he does something that is clearly bad (i.e. ordering the killing of innocents) then we must seriously challenge the one that is making that assertion - be they Muslim jihadists or people we consider prophets.

So now you know what I think. :)

Don G said...

Thanks for sharing. I think I understand your point, but I still believe that it is a combination of both.

Some people let God off the hook by saying that he does not do evil, but He allows it. Is there a difference? If I see someone about to harm themselves, and I do nothing when I could stop it, am I not guilty? (For some reason, I am reminded of the last Seinfeld episode here, where they went to prison for not helping a man being robbed.)

I prefer to see God in ultimate control of both good and evil, like when Satan asked if he could test Job, and God put the limits on his actions.

For what it is worth, now you know what I think! :)

KC Bob said...

Perhaps God only allows evil because he allows humans the choice to choose not to love? If he did not allow this choice then humans would not be humans.