We are thinking about the PROBLEM OF EVIL and the issue of theodicy (a defense of God’s justice in the face of evil’s reality). There are religions that try to deal with the problem of evil by denying its existence (Christian Science comes to mind, for example). Other religions compromise the character of God in this area.
Thankfully the Bible affirms both the reality of evil and the truth of God’s justice. One text that merits our attention is Luke 13. There we read —
We’ve seen in our previous post that this text deals with two major sources of evil in the world: vicious crimes and violent accidents. We’ve looked briefly at Pilate’s vicious crime of executing some Galileans while they were worshiping God!
Jesus’ response to their unspoken question of “Why?” may seem odd to us, but He asks, “Do you think these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way?” He answers His own question by stating in effect, “No! The issue wasn’t their sin or their comparative wickedness. They serve as an example of the need to REPENT!”
The text then records JESUS bringing up a current event. He says (my paraphrase): “You know about that tower in Siloam that fell on those eighteen people and killed them? Were they more guilty that all the others living in Jerusalem?” Here it is Jesus who brings up a current event — a violent accident.
Accidents happen. But what do they mean? They are not necessarily indications that God has gotten someone. They are not necessarily barometers of a person’s comparative sinfulness. Jesus again answers His own question and says, “I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
We read with horror of the pedestrian bridge at Florida International University that collapsed on March 15, 2018, killing several. Were those innocent victims ready to meet the Lord?
Part of Jesus’ theodicy is simply: “Be ready to meet the Lord! Life is quite uncertain. Vicious crimes and violent accidents happen every day. Are you ready?” (your comments?)