We must deal with the problem of evil in this ongoing discussion about God. How can there be a good God and so much evil in the world? Christians must respond to this question — and thankfully the Bible does!
One of the passages that has helped me is Luke 13:1-5. There we receive what I call a bit of Jesus’ theodicy. A theodicy is a defense of God’s justice in the face of evil’s reality. Here’s what we read in Luke 13:
Some people (perhaps Galileans) report to Jesus an awful event that has taken place. Somehow some of Jesus’ countrymen had so angered the Roman governor Pontius Pilate that he had them massacred — while they were at a worship meeting! Not only did he have them executed, he had their blood mixed with their sacrifices (desecration). A vicious crime!
Jesus’ response to this report is quite astounding. One perhaps expected Him to rail against Pilate, to call down God’s judgment on the evil governor. But that’s not what Jesus does. He asks a question of the reporters of this event: “Do you think these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way?” (v. 2). He asks a question of comparison. Perhaps He was asking, “Do you think God got these Galileans and punished them through Pilate?”
The Jews knew that God could use an evil nation to punish His own people. But fortunately Jesus answers His own question: “I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” Jesus doesn’t rail against Pilate. He doesn’t pontificate on the problem of evil men doing despicable things. He challenges His questioners on a very personal level. And His response to this vicious crime is — the need to repent! (to be continued)