Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Problem of Evil Ever since the first sin of dis-obedience at the dawn of creation, there has been dis-integration in the world. Di-vision, dis-order, de-struction, and di-abolical designs are all around us, and within us. Don't you feel it?

Suffering and Death aren't merely theological ideas for scholars to ponder. The wounds are in you and me. The definitions of these Two Towers of human experience are written in our flesh and bones. Why must it be this way? Why do we fight and grasp and tear at each other? Why do bad people seem to succeed and the good suffer unjustly? Deeper still is the question "Why is there suffering at all? Why is there evil?" And why is it distinctly a human thing to ask why? There are no books on coping with tragedy in the animal kingdom. Zebras don't ponder the problem of evil.

If we are just bipedal fleshy parts of this creation, like super-apes, then why do we sigh for vindication and justice? Deeper still for immortality, for Something More? If evolution says it isn't broken, then why are we trying to fix it?

We write poetry, love songs and hymns. We ache for an Unending Love. But the other creatures in this world don't write love songs. Chickens don't weep at Mozart's Requiem. But we do. We see the division in the world. We see evil battling good, clawing after it in with an infernal jealousy. And we know there must be a reason; there must be More. There must be a Healing. There must be a Re-Union.

How could this desire exist in us if there were not a way to fulfill it? Thirst pants for water, hunger finds food. If our hearts yearn for a Fullness of Truth, Beauty and Goodness found only in fragments here, then....

I think in some ways the problem of evil, and the tear caused by suffering and death, is actually more a proof for God's existence than it is a reason not to believe in Him. I want peace, healing, wholeness. I want vindication, justice, the victory of Truth. I want redemption but I can't get it. If I can't then who can? And if this frustration and defeat is all there is, then why do I hope for more?

The words from an Alison Krauss song come softly like a healing balm:

"Love that shed His Blood for all the world to see, this must be the reason for it all."

Jesus Christ fully reveals man to himself and makes his supreme calling clear (Gaudium et Spes, 22). All of the contradictions in this world and in our lives meet at the Crossroads. Suffering and Death have come to us, through the dis-obedience of our ancestry. And if we are honest, that apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Its repercussions are rippling throughout all time and space. We suffer for it, the young and old, the good and bad. But we are not alone. He has taken on our sorrows. He was crushed for our offenses, bruised for our evils... Suffering and Death are not our lot alone anymore, like a card we can trump God with. He suffered too; in fact, He became suffering. He swallowed death. And even now the Universe is being remade in Him. All creation groans. The labor pains have already begun. The seed that has fallen to the earth in death, in me and around me, is already breaking earth, and will blossom into New Life. We believe, Lord. Help our unbelief.

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