This week we’ve celebrated Halloween and it’s a fun time where culturally we make light of goblins, ghouls and demons and even dress our kids up like them! But despite the fact that our cultural celebration of Halloween is generally harmless, aside from the potential dentist bills from cavities, there really is evil present in the world. Today we are looking at 3 types of evil we experience, probably on a daily basis.
What is interesting is that the evil that is present in the world also crossover our expectations with God, you can read more about that here.
But as far as evil goes, let’s start with this premise: Clear back at the beginning, God called everything good. Everything. At the end of it, God said it was very good, or literally ‘good good.’ So the design for humanity is for good. It is embedded within us. Good came first. We long for good. We love good things. And here in America, in general, that’s what we are used to, things just tend to work out for us and we run away from pain and discomfort because we can in general find our way back to good.
Good is within us. But for the first human beings in Genesis they had a naivety, they only knew the good and they had no clue of anything else even existing.
They were specifically warned of the consequences of eating the fruit of the tree in the center of the garden. Now, they didn’t die because they ate it, but here’s what did die…their innocence. Their naivety was gone.
They discovered that there is true evil in the world.
They had an expectation of perfection, GOOD! which was put to death by their eating of the fruit and now their experience was that there was more to this world than what they originally saw.
To put it in our terms from the last blog post, they expected a benevolent God and experienced a God who had previously shielded them from evil.
And so what they experienced then is what we all know of too well now…there is evil in the world. There are problems in this world. First humans discovered it and now we experience it and when we come from a place of expecting everything is good and then experience something different, we can tend towards anger with God.
But there are 3 Types of Evil we experience daily:
- Moral Evil – selfish human choices that people make that are destructive to people, to the planet, to animals…violence, greed, assaults. We have all been victims of moral evil and have been the culprits of moral evil.
- Natural evil – this is destruction that is beyond our control – health issues, sickness, disease, pandemics, infertility, miscarriages, storms, tides, earthquakes, accidents even – stuff that just happens that we can’t manipulate, it just happens.
- Human Limitation – restrictions on our capabilities, weaknesses, limited life span – death.
These are three ways that we experience evil and we just simply want God to intervene in these situations – a hurricane blows through, someone gets sick and dies, a terrorist attack on a school. Each one represents a horrific experience of human life and why doesn’t God intervene and stop it from happening?
I think we can return to the story of the first humans to see why. After they ate the forbidden fruit, God didn’t undo their calamity. God didn’t rewind time and give them a do-over. God just took the mess of their situation and He redeemed it. He covered it. He did what was necessary to cover over their mess and redeem it.
In their moment of shame, embarrassment, discomfort, what did good news look like to Adam and Eve? Covering up their nakedness! And that’s exactly what God provided.
We can’t reverse the evil that we are awakened to…it’s real and it’s pervasive…but God can redeem it.
So when you are in the thick of anger with God because God is not intervening the way you want God to, to interrupt the Moral/Natural Evil and Human Limitations you are experiencing…pause for just a moment and ask yourself what does Good News look like in this moment?
What does redemption look like here?
God will sometimes give us intervention…and we get frustrated when God doesn’t…but God will ALWAYS provide redemption if we just open our eyes to it.
God is constantly and continually working to restore us to the Good of original creation. Jesus became the lamb that was slain to cover us, to restore us to relationship with God, to bring us back to the good of original creation.
God is always seeking to restore you to your original state.
What we want is cessation of our problems, but God is looking for formation of our person.
Don’t feel guilty for being angry with God because of unmet expectations…but please please don’t stay in your anger…instead, look for where redemptive work is being done and how you can be a part of God’s redeeming people and situations to bring Good in our world.