Only You Can Prevent Moral Evil   1 comment

At some point, almost everybody asks “Why?” when confronted with the tragedy that is human history, especially in the 20th century (100 million killed in various genocides) and, well, the 21st century is still new, but things aren’t looking promising. There’s a great deal of truth to the idea that there are no atheists in foxholes. We all, to some degree, believe there really is a God Who is conscious of human beings, Who is good, and Who has sufficient power to prevent bad things from happening.

If you’re not a believer, you’re about to compose an angry response to my contention, but hear me out.

If there is no God, the question is not “Why are children starving in (name that location)?” It’s not “Why is (name that dictator) murdering millions for (name that goal)?” The question is “Why not?” Why shouldn’t they be starving and being murdered and why should we care if they are? In the absense of a moral context, starving and gassing your citizens is no more “wrong” than feeding and clothing them. Evil is commonplace in this world, so why do we rail against it? If God does not exist, shouldn’t we just accept reality?

Instead, we think evil is strange, something against the natural order.

Why?

The Bible says that God created mankind to be “good”. If God created us, we were not created for evil. Thus, evil is strange to us. That changed when Adam and Eve chose to disobey God. They gained the knowledge of good and evil and in the bargain, they learned how to do evil. We learned how to do evil. But at our basic DNA level, we know it’s wrong and we know it’s strange.

Christian faith accepts that every event is ultimately redeemable and also therefore, permissible, by a personal God Who is both willing and able to nurture into being a creation which cannot be improved on. This doesn’t mean we believe that every event is good. Bad things happen because we humans broke the creation God gave us to tend. Moral evil is all around us. Yet God through Jesus Christ cares about all human beings and even sparrows and flowers.

So how do Christians answer evil. “If God is both all-good and all-powerful,” people say, “He would not allow evil things to occur at all.” They follow with: “If God is all-good and all-powerful, evil should not exist. And, if man was created in God’s image, the moral evil makes God look like the Devil.”

Human beings are messy because God created us with free will, which means we are capable of acting in ways that God did not authorize. Moral development of personality is possible only in a world of genuine freedom. God does not and never would approve of some of things that human beings do to one another, but the horrendous moral crimes we commit are the result of our freedom of moral choice. God is more interested in our character than our comfort. If a child is never permitted to do wrong, he or she will never become capable of developing a nature or character that CHOOSES good. Good people must live in a world where doing evil is a genuine choice for them.

This does not mean that God is limited in power. It only means that He restrains the use of His power. Producing people with character without giving them a choice to exercise their character is impossible, because the capacity to choose is part of character.

The presence of moral evil in the world does not mean that God is lacking in goodness or power, but that He allows us to choose to use the free will that He built into us. Why we struggle with this is that, to our eyes, this life is all we have. We forget that there is a life following that God has promised us. That life after is not just for believers. Non-believers have an eternal life as well. When we focus on this life alone, evil, pain, and frustration cannot be redeemed. If God is only God for our temporal reality, then He has no business allowing us to suffer. He’s not the God of temporal reality. He is the God of eternity and that makes all the difference.

Paul the apostle taught that great suffering is “our light afflication, which is but for a moment and which produces for us a weight of glory far greater than it.” (2 Corinthians 4) There is a world that we don’t see in our every day way. God loves us – each and every one (even those of us who don’t love Him) – and He has provided a way for us to go to His full and perfect world where existence is good all the time. There, God is seen to be good and great without limit and every individual received into His presence enjoys the everlasting sufficiency of His goodness and greatness. There is no tragedy for those who rely on THAT God.

This world is but a moment and eternity is longer than we can imagine. While God permits evil to allow us to exercise our free will, He is not the source of evil. While pointing your finger at God for the problem of moral evil, please do note the other fingers pointing back at you. Human beings commit moral evil. We are the source. The very first time mankind exercised our free will, we attempted to put ourselves in God’s throne and set loose the forces of evil in our world.

Why do humans commit moral evil? We have our reasons and we justify our behavior as “necessary”. I lie, cheat, steal, hurt others, but it is necessary to achieve my aims, so it’s justified.

When I recognize my position and rely upon God Who is infinitely wiser than me, I can relinquish the realization of my aims to Him. I can stop doing what I and everybody else knows is wrong and cease cooperation with immoral behavior occurring around me. I can also stand against the evils of this world, unconcerned about the consequences to me, because I realize that this world is a moment and eternity is longer than I can imagine.

Perfection of character is not necessary. We can concentrate on just doing better than what we did as autonomous humans. That is the surest way to vastly improve the world we live in … do what God wants us to do.

Start by relying on Jesus Christ to guide and help us. By trusting Jesus as well as we are able, we come to share the eternal kind of life that belongs to God. We come to understand how the Psalmist could “fear no evil” because “goodness and mercy shall follow [us] all of [our]days and [we] shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” This assurance is God’s response to our trust. Experience will confirm this assurance.

The problem of moral evil is soluble by mankind putting our trust in God and choosing to exercise our freewill in opposition to moral evil. Because God really exists and He is the only way to turn from evil to good.

Posted September 23, 2013 by aurorawatcherak in Christianity

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One response to “Only You Can Prevent Moral Evil

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  1. Bravo!

    Like

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