Have you ever meditated on John 9:1-3 in light of the question, “How could a loving God allow evil to exist?”
1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth.
2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.
What does this tell us?
We read this at Lake Merced yesterday, and this Scripture really got my wheels turning.
How could a loving God allow blindness, lameness, sickness, disease, murder, rape, molestation, and other evils to exist? Wouldn’t a loving God keep these things away from us? Wouldn’t a loving God save us from all ills? Wouldn’t a loving God refuse to allow anyone to experience any sort of pain?
The world says, “How could you call your God ‘loving?’ If He’s truly all-powerful and can do whatever He wants, He’s more of a decadent tyrant full of evil Himself! Look at this place – it’s full of hurt! Why doesn’t your “loving” God snap His divine fingers and fix it?!?!”
These are tough questions, and do they have a point?
Of course they do!
Seriously – why must pain continue? Why must there be suffering? Why must there be anything bad at all?
The Bible’s answer: so the goodness of God can be revealed. You must experience bad to understand good.
Woah! What a cop out!
… or is it?
Have you ever considered what existed before Creation?
A place inhabited by God and His angels. A place where no disease, misfortune, evil, or imperfection existed.
A perfect heaven. Perfect in every sense of the word.
Think about this: you can’t improve on perfection. Perfect is just that – perfect! It doesn’t get any better!
But what happened?
The #1 angel Lucifer – God’s most beautiful and powerful created thing – looked in the mirror at his perfect, immaculately adorned body, and convinced himself that he was so beautiful, so adequate, so powerful, so unimprovable, so perfect, that he should be God, could be God, would be God himself!
Up to that point, Lucifer and the rest of the population of heaven had never tasted pain. They’d never had a relative die. They’d never been sick. They’d never broken a bone. They’d never been robbed, cheated, molested, or beat up. They’d never been affected by any type of imperfection ever, yet Lucifer convinced himself that their world would be more perfect if God were out of the picture and he were in His place.
Lucifer so convinced himself that he should, could, and would be God, that he rallied the support of subordinate angels to make a move against Yahweh (i.e. a Jewish name for God).
Many followed him while many refused to, and the first church split occurred … in heaven!
Those who went with Lucifer followed closely behind him as he approached The Living God – Father, Son, and Spirit – to confront Him with this newfound “truth” – that heaven would be better with Lucifer in God’s place.
Through mindless self-deception, Lucifer for the first time introduced imperfection into heaven: pride, selfishness, divisiveness, disorder, chaos, one-upmanship, tyranny, disrespect, malcontent, greed, envy – in a word: evil.
The confrontation with God didn’t end well for Lucifer and those following him. You see, the thing about a Perfect God is this: imperfection cannot exist in His presence. Evil cannot exist in His presence.
A Perfect God inhabiting a perfect heaven cannot allow imperfection in because it’s outside of His nature to do so. In other words, it is impossible for God to allow imperfection to dwell in His presence simply because of who He is.
So Lucifer and his followers were cast out of heaven (it wasn’t a great competition as many artists’ paintings would lead you to believe – God simply spoke and it was over).
These mutanous, mindless, self-decieved troublemakers had introduced imperfection – evil and sin – into that perfect, sinless world, and it cost them their place there – they were no longer welcome, and never will be again.
Lucifer so wanted to be a god, and it’s ironic because The Living God granted his wish, but not in the way Lucifer expected.
He allowed Lucifer to inhabit a new creation – our universe – to live as “the god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4). In fact, our world was perfect just like heaven before Lucifer got here!
If you haven’t figured it out yet, Lucifer’s named changed to Satan (which means “the adversary”) after being cast out of heaven, and he introduced the same imperfection that caused him to be cast out of heaven into our world cursing the earth and all who are in it.
We live in a world where imperfection and evil exist because the god of this world (with a little ‘g’) is himself imperfect.
Why does The Living God – God with a big ‘G’ – allow evil to exist?
So that the goodness of God – the true perfection of the living God – may be revealed; and this revelation isn’t simply for mankind – it’s for the angels as well.
Why does evil exist? So that you may choose to follow Yahweh embodied in Jesus Christ, and find the perfection you’re searching for.
The goodness of God is here for you – the choice to submit to and follow Him or not is in your hands just as it was for Lucifer.
Yes, our world is corrupt and sinful, but in God’s defense, it didn’t start out this way!
I have many more thoughts on this (we haven’t even gotten into the fall of man or the contrast between Satan and man), but I’m out of time today.
Have you ever thought about this issue in this way?
I apologize if this post is a bit discombobulated – I have a lot swirling in my head and this is part of it.
K … I’m going to work on the remodel at Lake Merced now. Discuss this with me please – I want to hear your thoughts or if I’ve made you think.