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Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Evil exists so that He might be demeaned and insulted, so that the depth of His love and sacrifice could be expressed as much as is possible in the small frame of history.

- N.D. Wilson in Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl
As Dinesh D'Souza says, the problem of evil is a much bigger one for atheists than Christians. Atheists have to explain how natural evolution could produce humans who waste time and energy on torturing other people instead of killing them outright. Such inefficiency is highly problematic from a "survival of the fittest" view. It makes no sense that humanity is the one species that seems capable of intentional evil. Sure, all animals are capable of killing and mistreating other animals, but they only do so out of their need to survive.

I find great comfort in the Christian explanation for evil, which N.D. Wilson summarized so beautifully above. It gives even something as terrible as pure evil a meaning, and an ultimate conclusion. It's not something we need to flinch at and explain away. That's probably part of the reason why I enjoy (if that quite is the word) reading and learning about the terrors in world history (like the Gulag and Rwandan genocide) as well as occasionally favor films with dark themes; I prefer to see the question of evil wrestled with rather than ignored. And it's something I want my kids to wrestle with as well, which is why I'm not in favor of shying away from dark realities when I read to my five-year-old daughter. As Russell Moore says, "kids know—they instinctively know—that they’re living in a universe in which something’s gone awry. It’s not our job—as parents, or as Sunday school teachers—to disengage that. It’s our job to come in an to provide an answer to that. Yeah, you’re living in an enchanted world. Yeah, you’re living in a haunted world. You’re living in a world haunted by demonic powers. That’s exactly right—what you deeply fear is indeed the case… Your worrying about the monster under the bed isn’t unreasonable; there’s a monster under the fabric of the cosmos. Instead, we give them a story that provides the only comfort that really is lasting comfort; it’s a comfort that the enemies have been defeated."

If you're interested in a thorough fleshing out of the reason for evil, John Piper's written some good stuff on the topic, particularly this. And N.T. Wright's Evil and the Justice of God has some good things to say (though not without some problem areas). I'd also recommend an excellent recent sermon from my own church. All of these are great resources for dealing with the question: "how can God be good and allow evil to exist?"

And NO, this was not some veiled, subtle attempt at explaining Obama. :)


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Darius' book montage

The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel The Main Thing
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Overcoming Sin and Temptation
According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible
Disciplines of a Godly Man
Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem
When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Ourselves
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith
Respectable Sins
The Kite Runner
Life Laid Bare: The Survivors in Rwanda Speak
Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak
A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, ... anabaptist/anglican, metho
Show Them No Mercy
The Lord of the Rings
Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass
The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception
Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming
The Chronicles of Narnia
Les Misérables

Darius Teichroew's favorite books »