Monday, April 30, 2018

Attempting to Explain the Problem of Evil in Our World

One of the most difficult things to explain to people today is why evil is permitted in our world. Even harder to explain is how this evil is permitted despite a loving God existing. Recently, I read the heartbreaking comments of a first responder, whose faith has clearly been shaken, and I can't say that I blame him. But he was honestly trying to understand how such horrible things can happen. His comments:
Ok, I am a paramedic. I tried to save a 2 week old beaten to death by his father. I understand that what happens are consequences of your decisions, but what did that baby do? How does that fall into the whole loving god? Or the children born with major medical issues? The ones that can never leave the hospital, whose entire lives are spent laying in bed breathing and eating through tubes?
These are honest questions, and he can't be faulted for asking them. I tried to give the best response I could to this, as I think it's a question that plagues the minds of many people today, both Christian and non-Christian.
Christ and the Samaritan woman at the well- Angelica Kauffman

Sir, I am so sorry that you have had to witness such horrific crimes. Thank you for your service to the community as a paramedic. But with that service, you've had to witness horrors that I can't even imagine, such as the case of this two week old. Like Ryan Grant mentioned above, I'm not God, so I can't comprehend why this specific, horrible action happened. But when I hear about horrible things like this that break my heart, here's what runs through my mind...

God is an omniscient and omnipresent being. This means God is outside of time and can see every event, past, present, and future as one eternal now. This also means that God sees the whole picture. He sees how this despicable decision the father made to harm his child will affect human history. He also sees where this child will live for eternity. In contrast, you and I only see part of the picture. Could it be, that somewhere down the line, God could bring good even out of the most evil action?

As Christians, we believe that God is all good and all loving. God may permit evil, but this fact does not mean that God is not loving. Despite what happened to this two week old baby, we know that God is all loving because of his gift of free will to us. He wants us to love Him freely, and to love others freely, and for us to reciprocate that love. But if God controls our every action, we wouldn't be loving; we'd be robots. This is why evil is permitted, but never condoned and never willed by God.

We won't understand this side of the veil how the death of this two week old baby fits into the "whole picture", but we have to have trust in God that since we see an incomplete picture, he knows how the story ends. As Christians, we believe that this life on Earth isn't the only life. If it were, then I'd be asking the same questions that you are. But since I know that we all have a chance at eternal life, a life in communion with God for eternity, I have a well-founded hope and trust that the wonderful things this child will experience in the next life will exponentially outweigh what the child experienced in his earthly life.

I don't know if what I wrote above will help you, but know that you're in my prayers, and I'd be happy to continue the conversation with you here or privately. Thank you for your service as a first responder.

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