Me with my lovely wife, Kathy:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Evil, A Demonstration of God's Love:

Last Sunday I presented the first message in a three part series on John 3:16.  I found my thoughts stimulated by J. Sidlow Baxter.  In the opening pages of his book he raises some objections to the concept of God’s love.  One of the problems he and others raise has to do with the horrendous evil in this world. 
The following few paragraphs, taken from my sermon notes, are some of my thoughts on the matter.

How can you talk about a God who loves when you look around at the mess this world is in?  Read the newspaper, or if you are more up to date, surf the web.  Either way you will find this world is a mess.
Disasters manmade and natural abound. 
In a 15 minute span the other day I personally—not via any public media--heard of two, one an utter display of depravity, the other a severe blow to a family.  I have no doubt that some research would have revealed thousands of instances of injustice, tragedy, and mayhem that took place in that quarter of an hour.  
God’s plan is not thwarted by this evil around us.  The fact of the matter is that God’s glory—and that is the grand purpose of creation—will ultimately be enhanced by God’s redeeming a group of people for His very own, from out of this suffering, perishing world, to live with Him in harmony  for all eternity.  (See  Romans 8:16-39)
The concept of God having people who would love Him and the possibility of evil in the world are not incompatible at all, in fact they are more related than you might think. 
Love, by its nature, involves a choice.  As any person who has tried and failed at love knows, you can’t make someone love you.   God did not create a race of automatons who are programed to act like they love Him--a world full of Stepford Christians.
Rather He created humans, who have the capacity to love.  The same abilities that enable us to love, also make possible sin and rebellion, and all the ugly results that brings. 
It will likely make your head hurt for a while as you try to wrap your mind around it, but there is evil in this world because God is a loving God.  God is so committed to the concept of love that He made the world so that people—the pinnacle of God’s creation in this world—could choose to love Him.  In making them with that ability to choose, it was necessary that we also have the ability to choose not to love, to not relate to God as we should.
In the end having the new heaven and the new earth populated with people who genuinely love Him will bring the greatest  glory to God and greatest good to all creation.

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