We set out yesterday on the resumption of our road trip, headed for Illinois. This time, we were as ready as we could be.
I have three separate ways to connect to the internet. At a campsite, I can usually get wireless internet, so Mike rigged up a ‘repeater’ of sorts to ensure a usable signal. If there is no wireless, I have my Cingular aircard as backup.
If not, I have my Directway Satellite dish, which sets up in less than fifteen minutes and I am good to go. Plus, my Dish network satellite dish helps keep up to date with what is happening.
I was so proud — I thought of EVERYTHING. So when we pulled in to an RV camp just outside Sturgis, MI, the only amenities I was really concerned with were septic and water.
I never banked on the trees. Never even considered it. The trees were so thick I couldn’t get a signal from the campsite’s wireless. They were so thick I couldn’t get a signal on my Directway dish.
My last backup is my Cingular Aircard. Two bars. Enough to log onto Yahoo Messenger, but not enough to be able to open a web page. I couldn’t even watch the news to keep up with events in the Middle East. Sigh.
So, this morning, we headed to a roadside rest area where I could get a Cingular signal and fired up the generator.
And we learned a new lesson. Never underestimate the enemy’s capacity for evil. In his hands, even the trees can be a weapon against the Kingdom.
One of the principle objections offered by Bible skeptics is that if there were a loving and all-powerful God, then, why is the world such an evil place?
There is no doubt that evil exists. In fact, evil is the default state of humanity. (Babies have to be taught not to bite, after all.) Did God create evil?
God is both loving and all-powerful. Despite this, He seems unwilling or incapable of preventing the vast amount of evil and suffering in this world.
The skeptic argues that either God is not loving or all powerful, or that He does not exist at all, because if He DID exist, then does He allow so much evil to exist?
The simple fact is, the universe is created in a balance. In order for there to be darkness, there must first be light. Darkness is a measure of the absence of light. Without the prior existence of light, darkness could not exist.
In order for there to be cold, there must first be heat. Cold is a measure of the absence of heat. Without heat, cold could not exist. Evil is a measure of the absence of good. Without good, evil could not exist.
Evil is not a creation of God, since it cannot exist outside of the creation of good. But it does exist, because good exists.
Think of it like a battery. It takes both the positive and negative poles to create power. Good would have no power to effect change without evil, just as evil has no existence without good.
How could one choose good if there were no evil against which to measure it? In His creation, God never pronounced the universe ‘perfect’ — He found some of His creation to be ‘good’ some of it to be ‘very good’ and even some of it that He pronounced, ‘not good’.
“The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18)
Both the Bible and science tell us this present universe was designed to be temporary. The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics proves there is not enough matter in the universe to cause to contract.
That means the universe will continue to expand indefinitely and all the stars will eventually burn out and life would not be possible for the entire rest of the history of the universe.
The Bible says the universe was designed to be temporary, and it will eventually be replaced by a perfect universe that will be permanent. Why would God create a temporary universe instead of creating a perfect, permanent one in the first place?
God created the universe as it exists for the express purpose of allowing free will spiritual beings the opportunity to choose to have fellowship with Him, or to reject Him. Those who choose to have fellowship with Him will do so in some future, perfect creation.
And if His purpose is to have free-will fellowship in some future creation, then there must also exist some means by which these spiritual beings can make a choice whether or not to enter into this relationship with Him. “…I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” (Genesis 8:21)
The Bible tells us that humanity is desperately wicked and sinful (Romans 3:10-18,23). God allows human beings to commit sin because if He were to prevent it, the human race would not truly be free.
The Apostle Paul outlines God’s fourteen-point indictment against the human race;
- There is none righteous, no, not one.
- There is none that understandeth,
- there is none that seeketh after God.
- They are all gone out of the way,
- they are together become unprofitable;
- there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
- Their throat is an open sepulchre;
- with their tongues they have used deceit;
- the poison of asps is under their lips:
- Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
- Their feet are swift to shed blood:
- Destruction and misery are in their ways:
- And the way of peace have they not known:
- There is no fear of God before their eyes. (Romans 3:10-18)
It takes an incredible capacity for self-deception for one not to see themselves mirrored in that list. Think back to before you were saved. That is the condition of every lost person you meet. Paul goes on to point out that ” all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” (3:23) but that there is an offer extended to us to be “justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (3:24)
“Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” (3:27-28)
So God allows evil to exist in order to allow free will to exist. The Scriptures tell us that God is the Creator and the source of all good, and it reveals that, during this present dispensation, Satan is the god of this world and the source of all evil.
“In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2nd Corinthians 4:4). Much of the suffering that exists in this world is a direct result of evil choices made by free-will human beings that impact others. Natural disasters — hurricanes, volcanoes, etc., are part of the cycle of power required by this imperfect universe in order for it to exist in balance.
In the new creation, there will be some limits on our free will, since the new creation will not contain evil. We exist in this life to give us a chance to agree to give up some of that free will in the next. That is what it means to turn one’s life and will over to Jesus Christ. It is a choice to surrender our will to God.
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:6-7)
Those who refuse the opportunity in this life will not be forced to in the next life, but will instead exist separately from the new creation, and apart from God. The place set aside for those who reject God is the place originally prepared for the devil and his angels. (Matthew 25:41).
Bad things happen in this universe, because that is how it is designed. No human being has in himself ever been righteous. Even Adam was not righteous: he was innocent–not knowing good and evil.
Ultimately, there is not an answer to these questions that we can fully comprehend. We, as finite human beings, can never fully understand an infinite God (Romans 11:33-34). Sometimes we think we understand why God is doing something, only to find out later that it was for a different purpose than we originally thought. We look at things from an earthly perspective.
God looks at things from an eternal perspective; “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9).
It is impossible for us finite human beings to understand the ways of an infinite God (Romans 11:33-35). Second, we must realize that God is not responsible for the wicked acts of evil men.
God had to allow the possibility of evil for us to have a true choice of whether to worship God or not. If we never had to suffer and experience evil, would we know how wonderful heaven is?
We don’t know everything, but we can be confident of knowing this:
“And we know that ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Even the existence of evil trees.