On the presence of evil

| January 25, 2013 | 3 Comments

Men do not believe in a devil now, as their fathers used to do.
They force the door of the broadest creed, to let his majesty through.
There is not a print of his cloven hoof, or a fiery dart from his bow,
to be found in earth or air today, for the world has voted it so.
But who is mixing the fatal draft, that poison heart and brain? 

Who loads the earth each passing year, with ten hundred thousand slain?
Who blights the bloom of the land today, with the fiery breath of hell?
If the devil is not, nor ever was, will someone rise and tell?
Who dog’s the steps of a toiling saint, and digs the pits for his feet?
Who sows the tare in the field of time, wherever God sows wheat?
The devil is voted not to be, so of course this thing is true.
But who is doing the kind of work, that the devil alone used to? 

We are told he does not go about, as a roaring lion now.
But who should be held responsible, for this everlasting rowe?
What then shall be heard in home, church and state, to the earth’s remotes bounds,
if the devil by unanimous vote, is nowhere to be found?

 Will not somebody step to the front forthwith, and make his bow and show,
how the frauds and the crimes of the day spring up, for surely we want to know.
The devil was fairly voted out, and of course the devil is gone.
But simple folks would like to know, who now carries his business on. — Alfred J. Hough

 

Our culture has, for an exceedingly lengthy period of time, been at war with the foundational Judeo-Christian principles upon which our nation was erected. We have been chastised, insulted, and brainwashed into believing that there is no such thing as evil, or the prince of evil, the devil himself. So how amazing it was for me to hear Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in a recent interview with Scott Pelley on “60 Minutes,” admit that she did believe that there were some individuals who were so evil, that they were beyond a point of redemption. To say that I was perplexed would be an understatement. Not only acknowledging the existence of evil, but also to admit that individuals could be so consumed with it, that those so possessed, were no longer salvageable. To hear a current member of the judiciary make such an assertion, while being allied with the liberal left, made the surprise even more prominent. 

So many times, as I have attempted to discuss the matters of faith with those not in possession of it, the conversation will, almost without exception, take a turn towards the oft asked question, “If God is so good, loving and perfect, why does he allow the existence of evil?” This question is supposed to serve as an intellectual nuclear deterrent towards any further comment or consideration. Many presuppose that the existence of evil refutes the actuality of God.  At times, the enigma of evil is placed to the Christian in the mode of an intricate inquiry, “If God is blameless, then He must not be formidable and sufficient to deal with all the malevolence and inequality in the world since it is still going on. If He is potent enough to prohibit transgression then He Himself must be an evil God in view of the fact that He’s not doing anything about it even though He has the ability. So which is it? Is He a bad God or a God that’s not all powerful?” Even the biblical writers murmured about pain and evil. “Evils have encompassed me without number” (Psalm 40:12). “Why is my pain unceasing, my wound incurable, refusing to be healed?” (Jeremiah 15:18). “The whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now” (Romans 8:22). Thus we unhesitatingly admit that evil is an obstruction and we also acknowledge that if God created the world the way it is today He would not be a God of love but rather an evil God. 

Nevertheless, the Scriptures make it plain that God did not fashion the world in the condition in which it is now, but evil came as a consequence of the egocentricity of man. The Bible says that God is a God of love and He preferred to create a person and eventually a race that would love Him. However unadulterated love cannot exist unless freely given through free choice and will, and thus man was given the choice to receive God’s love or to reject it. This choice made the possibility of evil to become very real. When Adam and Eve defied God, they did not choose something God originated, but, by their choice, they transported evil into the world. God is neither evil nor did He create evil. Man conveyed evil upon himself by selfishly preferring his own way apart from God’s way. 

Since the fall, the world now is malformed. Things are not in the state that they should be. Man, as an outcome of the fall, has been disconnected from God. Nature is not always kind to man and the animal world can also be his enemy. There is disagreement between man and his fellow man. None of these circumstances were true before the fall. Any explanation that might be given to the problems mankind faces must take into contemplation that the world as it stands now is not natural. 

Even though evil is here and it is real, it is also impermanent. Evil will ultimately be extinguished. This then, is the confidence that the believer has. There is a fresh world forthcoming, in which there will be no more tears or agony because all things will be made new (Revelation 21:5). Paradise gone astray will be paradise redeemed. God will right every wrong and put away evil once for all, in His time.  Christians have a validation for fighting evil, immorality, and corruption. The world was not premeditated with evil in mind and the believer has a real foundation for fighting social ills. He is not following the belief that whatever is, is right. The Christian does not condone wrongdoing by claiming it is God’s world; neither does he accept that everything that happens is agreed to by God. God does not crave evil nor does He ever tolerate it. He hates evil, and the Christian also is not only to despise evil, he is obligated to do something about it. Even though sin is real, it is not something that the believer agrees to take as the way things ought to be. By identifying with Jesus, the believer has a responsibility to call things wrong that are wrong and to speak out when evil is overtaking good. The Christian is not fighting against God by fighting social problems. Natural disasters, crime, and mental retardation should not be the accepted order of things, because they were never meant to be and they will not be in God’s future realm.  However, some individuals are still perturbed that God even allows evil in the first place. They question His wisdom in giving man a choice in the matter. The Bible tells us that God’s purposes are sometimes beyond our understanding. “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isaiah 55:8, 9). Paul, in a similar vein, wrote to the church at Rome, “Oh, and the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways.” (Romans 11:33). 

While the Bible enlightens us on how and why evil came about, it does not tell us why God sanctioned it to happen. However, we do know that God is all-wise and all-knowing and that He has motives for allowing things to happen that are outside of our conception.

 

 

About the Author:

HANK MARTIN is a Charlottesville native, a graduate of Albemarle High School and Piedmont Virginia Community College. Growing up, he spent more than a decade in the Cub and Boy Scout Programs and was a member of the Monticello Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol. As an adult, he has served as a leader in Scouting and church youth character building programs. An avid history lover, he participated in the adoption of the school anti-bullying legislation sponsored by delegate Rob Bell. Hank most recently founded and chaired Forever Albemarle, a personal property rights group. He lives with his wife and children in Charlottesville.
×

3 Comments on "On the presence of evil"

Trackback | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Ken says:

    Sotomayor didn’t deny the existence of evil, or of evil individuals. She just said she didn’t believe in the existence of people beyond redemption. And she’s wise in that regard, because only God can really and fully know the heart. The rest of us should never treat people as if they’re incapable of repentance and change for the better.

    the Scriptures make it plain that God did not fashion the world in the condition in which it is now, but evil came as a consequence of the egocentricity of man.

    That doesn’t actually explain the existence of evil. If the world was perfect when God created it, and egocentricity is a fault, then why was man egocentric? Free choice – freedom – gives mankind dignity, but the existence of free choice doesn’t explain why mankind would choose evil in a world of good, would choose to mess with perfection, would choose the possibility of evil instead of good. Evil is a mystery, and the story of Adam and Eve doesn’t explain it. We can’t know why evil exists. We have to trust in God’s own goodness, and trust that God will over come it with good, in spite of our lack of understanding. In other words, we have to “live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Cor 5:7).

    In the meantime, we can quit dividing the world into good people and bad people. The sin in each of our hearts is “at war with the foundational Judeo-Christian principles.”

  2. Rob Schilling says:

    Hank Martin evaluates the presence of evil in today's world. Is God to blame for the bad things that surround us?

  3. area58 says:

    For 18 yrs of my life, I got up and drove to 7 differnet Virginia Department of Corrections Institutions. I deal with the Blue Ridge Killer (yes I would say he was evil if stood in his present could felt it). I deal with individuals who would come across as evil period. There is evil in the world. The question to this day that no one has been able to anwser— “Is why do men do evil things toward each other!”. I deal with evil that had a physical outcome, evil that cause physical and emotional pain in other human beings. Given a change the Blue Ridge Killer will kill again. In his twisted mind, he was put on this earth for one thing only and that to kill……No God is not to blame, man is looking for someone to blame, instead of holding oneself accountable. Blue Ridage Killer and other like him, feel that they didn’t do anything wrong. Come from point of view that person should have have done me wrong and time for you to pay. Yes there is evil in world and no matter what anyone say, when the world no longer needs jail, prison and other institutions of confiment than just maybe, man has grow up.

Post a Comment