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Pride and the problem of evil

September 10, 2019 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18)

This past Sunday, I began preaching through the book of Revelation. One of the key takeaways from chapter 1 is that our perspective on this world is incredibly limited. We may believe that “reality” consists of what we can see, touch, hear, taste, and smell, but the Bible, and Revelation in particular, reveals to us that there is a whole unseen spiritual reality that is more real than the transitory things that inhabit the material world.

In a Tim Keller lecture that I was listening to recently, he shared an implication of that truth that I had never considered. He mentioned how many people in our modern age reject God because of something bad that happens in their life or in the world. Philosophers call this the problem of evil – how can a good and loving God allow something so bad to happen? But Keller points out that prior to the past couple of hundred years, this dilemma did not show up often in literature or in life as something that caused people to lose their faith in God. Keller argues that the reason this is the case is that in our modern, scientific age, we have become more convinced that we see reality pretty clearly, and that therefore if WE can’t think of a good reason God would allow something to happen, then there must not be a good reason. In previous generations, Keller argues, people were much more willing to concede that if there was an eternal, omniscient God, then He could have reasons for allowing things that we might not be able to understand from our limited perspective.

I find that argument compelling. The more we forget that there is a whole unseen reality that we are blind to, the more likely we are to find God unfair, unjust, or unloving. But the more we recognize how limited our perspective on reality really is, the more we can trust that God is always working for our good, even when we can not understand what exactly He is up to (Romans 8:28). We can look at the stories of Joseph in Genesis, or even Jesus in the gospels, and see how even when our eyes can’t understand what good could come out of suffering, God always has a plan.

Don’t let your learning cause you to lose your humility. God is still the only omniscient one there is, and He is always working for good, even when you can’t see it.

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