Friday, 1 August 2014

The Problem of Evil

Brothers and sisters:
What will separate us from
the love of Christ?
Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril,
or the sword?
No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly
through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that ...

Recently in the local news paper, there appeared this editorial cartoon.

Hamilton Spectator, July 28

No doubt, recent reports of airplane crashes around the world was its inspiration. So what are the odds that the airplane you are about to board will be involved in a crash? Actually they remain quite low. You are much safer flying than driving in a car. The odds suggested are 1 in 11 million for planes, 1 in 5000 for cars.

However, the fact remains that it does not take very much to shake our confidence in things, one bad report can easily be enough to get us doubting. Once we have had a bad experience, building trust again can be a difficult process.

In the spiritual world we call this the problem of evil. When bad things happen to good people our trust in God is challenged. If God loves you why are you suffering? Struggling with this question is a preoccupation throughout the scriptures. In the Old Testament, it was concluded that it must be the fault of the one suffering, because they sinned. Hence the question put to Jesus concerning the man who was born blind. And His disciples asked Him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?" Jo 9:2

Of all the weapons Satan has to use against us, this is his most powerful. It is like a virus, entering first through our mind's process of reasoning, infecting our thoughts with doubt, breaking down our defenses of faith until it gains entrance into our hearts, corrupting and killing the hope that gives us life.

What saves us from this decease of doubt is the Voice of the Spirit, present in our hearts, countering these infectious lies with the truth of God's love. That is why the practice of prayer is essential to our spiritual life. By our constant listening to the Spirit speaking to us in prayer, we are able to have access to God's truth, revealing to us the reason for our trust, God's love for us. In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Rom 8:26

Once we learn to discern the Spirit's Voice, revealing God's unconditional love for us, the infection of lies is healed. In chapter 8 of Romans, St. Paul shows us that this is an imperfect world we live in, by design - the "flesh" as Paul calls it. But it is only the first half of the story. It is in the second half of the story that the remedy for all things is fully revealed. Paul saw this in his encounter with the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus. On another occasion, speaking of himself, Paul describes a spiritual experience he had. “I must go on boasting, however useless it may be, and speak of visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who, fourteen years ago, whether he was in or outside his body I cannot say, only God can say—a man who was snatched up to the third heaven. I know that this man—whether in or outside his body I do not know, God knows—was snatched up to Paradise to hear words which cannot be uttered, words which no man may speak.”  2 Cor 12:1-4

Reason alone, with only the scientific method with which to work, is unable to answer the Problem of Evil. The reason for hate is easy to comprehend, the reason for love is a mystery, hidden in God, waiting to be discovered by one who listens to His Voice.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you very much for this, father. It was exactly what I needed to hear this morning.


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