Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray With Me”.
Today, as we begin a short series on the problem of evil, consider two great evils that stalk our world: the forces of nature and human choice.
We know the forces of nature randomly kill thousands in so-called “acts of God”–hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes. The insurance industry doesn’t like God’s name cluttering up their policies, so they call natural disasters “force majeure”–grand forces beyond human control, against which there is no insurance.
Other natural evils include starvation, pandemics, cancer, drought. Nature can be a hard master.
What about the second great evil? Human choice. Murders, wars, genocide, and accidents are everywhere. Illegal drugs rob people of health and hope. The threat of nuclear war casts a shadow on the world. Today the Doomsday Clock reads one-minute-and-forty-seconds to midnight for the human race.
Useful inventions create evil outcomes. The Wright brothers had a wonderful idea. Which inspired the military to create new forms of violence and destruction. Three years ago, that semi truck broadsided a Saskatchewan hockey bus, killing 16 and injuring 13.
This is “The Problem of Evil”. If God is loving and powerful, why doesn’t he stop the damage? Is our world his idea of reality TV? Doesn’t he care who gets injured or voted off the island?
But suppose you don’t believe in God. Does that make things better? If all that exists is the universe as we know it, if only the fit survive, then there is no good or evil. It’s just the way things are. We are stuck with the fate nature assigns us. Complaining gets us nowhere.
If there is no God and nature sends storms and earthquakes, how would you know it’s bad when they kill people?
If wolves eat lambs and humans are genocidal, what’s the evil when the fit survive and the weak are removed from the gene pool?
My answer is that of Hamlet–a deep human feeling that something is rotten in the State of Denmark. I want to be free to live my best life. I want my family protected from murderers and thieves, from floods and famine and disease. The world should be safe and friendly, not a fight for survival.
That feeling leads me past nature’s cruelty and human evil to God. Why? Because in him I see a standard of right and wrong, a statement of good and evil. I don’t find them anywhere else.
Our father, we call it the problem of evil. But it’s really the problem of good and evil, because so much of the world you created is good. I rejoice when dawn colors the sky in pinks and purples; I am amazed at mountains, stark against the clouds; I am astonished by the moon and stars at night.
Human goodness is wonderful too. Some people seek justice for the oppressed, homes for the homeless, food for the hungry. Human ingenuity and science have conquered plagues, smallpox, and polio.
Wherever we look good and evil are present together: in nature, in civilization, in culture and politics and people. Give us eyes to see and believe what is good, hearts to discern and resist what is evil. In our short lifetime may we come to know you, and to believe that you alone are good.
I’m Daniel, on the channel “Pray with Me”.