“Badness is only spoiled goodness. Evil is a parasite, not an original thing.” – C.S. Lewis
Bombings. Life-destroying storms. Cancer. Diseases. Terrorist attacks. Car accidents. Loss of a child or parent. Each one of us has faced at least one of these things. Evil stalks us around each corner and parades its rule on every news channel. We know there is a problem of evil in our world that has existed throughout history: the holocaust, the killing fields in Cambodia, the slavery, the tyrannies that starved millions of people, the genocide of Rwanda.
Our hearts break when we experience the pain of evil. Its sting stabs at the core of our emotions. The only response is “why?” Why do these things keep happening? Then a parallel question sounds, “Where is God?” As Christians, the problem of evil is like wrestling with the Hulk. It feels like we do not have enough answers. In this post, I hope to give Christians a different perspective on the problem of evil and how to interact with the evil we face daily in our lives.
Why do Bad Things Happen to Good People?
I knew from the first day of school how different I am. I checked my clothing. I matched and actually dressed in what many were wearing; that couldn’t be it. I quickly checked my hair. It did not look like a rat’s nest. I moved to examine my face. No food or smudges or toothpaste. Then why was everyone staring at me as I walked by them? I caught my reflection. My limp betrayed me. I am not like everyone else. There is something wrong with me. Then, the bullying and the shaming began.
Many times I raised my voice with the “why” coming out and questioning God. Like me, many people ask “Why do bad things happen to good people?” I am not the worst person in the world. Why am I the one with Spina Bifida? Why does this bad thing have to happen to me? Each one of us has, at one point or another, asked a similar set of questions. But is “why do bad things happen to good people” the right question?
We, almost with glee, enjoy seeing bad things happen to those who really deserve it. But do we? We’re the good people who are victims of the evil around us. However, is that reality?
The Bible claims that everyone is a sinner. No one goes after God. Everyone does what is evil (Romans 3:9-18). But, does this claim match reality? Let’s turn on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, BBC, France 24. Yes, it matches reality. Man at his core is sinful. It is because of mankind (Genesis 3) that evil entered the world (Romans 5:12). When evil came in the world, everything was affect. Death, disease, and disaster began their control over humanity. Bad things happen to bad people.
This means that disabilities came into the world because of sin corrupting everything.
A Foreshadow Divine
However, we all recognize that these things are evil and bad. There is something wrong. Why is that? Because we know that there has to be a solution and complete annihilation of evil. Good is what is normal. I see this in my disability. I don’t go around thinking my body is a “normal”. No, there is something wrong with. But, I know it is not going to stay this way. There has to be a day when my body is fixed. It is like God has put these thoughts in our minds (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
There is a divine foreshadow. We know evil and the sting of pain we face is not normal and is not the way life should be. That is a recognition that something is should be done about evil. Except, we know that humans cannot fix it for ourselves. We see many stories of that ending in a dystopian future. We cannot bring utopia, even through we know utopia is what is normal. Sounds like we need an incarnation to solve this for us. (John 1:14)
My disability proves that God has shown me that my body is not meant to be this way. He wants to heal it and restore all creation to what it was when things were perfect in the garden (Matthew 7; John 11).
A Restoration Divine
But, how can God be good and allow this evil? How can Psalm 139:13-14 be true when my disability can be a burden? In Genesis 3 God does two acts that shows he is involved and bringing an end to evil. In Genesis 3:21, God does not just remove Adam and Eve from the Garden and kicks them out because of sin. He clothes them. He kills his own creation for Adam and Eve. He clothes their guilt and shame. In Genesis 3:15, God promises that there will be someone who will crush the head of evil and restore all things.
Revelation 21 is that restoration. A new earth is created for God’s people where there is no more death, tears, pain, and disabilities.
A disability is evil. There is pain and suffering. However, is there no hope? I know I am not healed from my disability. But, it is a foreshadow that things will change. So there is hope.
In John 9, Jesus says that the man was born blind in order to display the works of God in him. Today, it might not be in a complete healing. But, the problem of a disability in reality is a foreshadow of the divine restoration found in Revelation 21. Evil exists. The recognition of this problem proves there is good and it must come from outside of us. It comes from God who is going restore all things.
“For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now. Not only that, but we ourselves who have the Spirit as the first fruits—we also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. Now in this hope we were saved, but hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees? Now if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patience.”
*This post is not meant to solve all the issues with the “problem of evil.” This is to give a different perspective on how we see evil and interact with it.