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Back to the Basics: Theology Proper #18 God and THE PROBLEM OF EVIL! (Part 3)

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?)

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2018 in doctrine of God

 

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Back to the Basics: Theology Proper #18 God and THE PROBLEM OF EVIL! (Part 2)

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:

There is so much in this passage, but let me suggest that it deals with the problem of evil.  In fact, Jesus’ theodicy here covers two major sources of evil: vicious crimes and violent accidents.

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)

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2018 in doctrine of God

 

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