What to say when God lets evil rear its head?

A blogger I follow is rightly angered by the revelation of more than 215,000 sexual abuse cases that recently came to light within the Roman Catholic Church, in addition to the countless situations that have darkened the news for more than a decade already. The writer railed against “an impotent and evil god” and questioned the existence of God. I disagree with the writer’s conclusion, and in my final paragraph below, I addressed some of the objections raised by that writer.

It is not a new idea that God somehow is responsible for the evil of humankind and should stop it every time it rears its ugly head, even though we become less certain of that idea the moment we find out that God’s view of human wickedness and our view of it are not necessarily equal.

According to the Ten Commandments as viewed in the Old and New Testaments, the expectations and standards of God are not just outward appearances of obedience, but inward, too. It’s not enough that we refrain from physical adultery; we must not engage in mental voyeurism, either. Lusting for someone we aren’t married to is equated by Jesus to marital infidelity. It’s not enough that we refrain our hands from murder; we must not hate someone in our hearts. Malice and hate are equated by Jesus to murder. And so it goes, one by one, through the commands of God for people to obey him, to be perfect as he is perfect, so that when we try to hold God accountable for the evil others commit, we find that we are equally as fallen as they, even if our hands have not committed the same actions theirs have. Our hearts have undoubtedly betrayed morality just as egregiously at one time or another. Simply put, we don’t have a leg to stand on in order to judge God.

Based on a quote at the top of this other blogger’s page, I wrote the following two paragraphs:

I like your quote about life being unfair vs. fair, because of what would await us if we got all that we deserved if life were fair. That’s the crux of our complaint against the wickedness of the predator in your post: when will he get his just desserts? Why didn’t God stop him from committing such evil? But if God were fair, he would have wiped every one of us off the face of the earth millennia ago. He’s not fair. He’s just. He’s self-sufficiently holy and righteous to a standard we can’t attain, yet we judge him by our pathetic standards? We, who claim to have morals but deny the only moral being in the universe. Once we have rejected the truth of God, we lose our claims to moral high ground completely, for we are only on slippery slopes, comparatively better than one another, while utterly falling short of God’s glory.

Humankind is free to pursue what it will. The ones that are bent on evil will pursue it. The ones that are freed from that pursuit to pursue God will pursue God. Anyone that does evil and claims to know God is a liar. Anyone that does evil and claims to be acting on command of God is a liar. Anyone that acts contrary to the revealed word of God but claims to love God is a liar and the truth is not in him/her. Neither Protestant nor Catholic can claim Christ and live like the devil without being a liar. The abuse of children by priests or pastors or by anyone else–or of anyone else–is evil, and they earn their condemnation. Anyone else that refuses to bow to the lordship of Jesus Christ for any other reason also earns their condemnation. That’s another ‘not-so-polite-dinner-conversation’ topic. It is only by the grace and mercy of an omnipotent and good God that we escape such condemnation.

Author: Bill M

I teach adult education to incarcerated individuals. My responsibilities include ELA, social studies, high school equivalency test prep (aka HiSET), and a people skills employment credentialing program called Work Ready, a 60-hour course. In addition to my work, I am married with two sons, one in middle school and one in high school. I have a dry sense of humor and try not to take myself more seriously than necessary.

One thought on “What to say when God lets evil rear its head?”

  1. Bill, I so appreciate your responses here to such a grave challenge. A number like 215,000 is so terrible to comprehend, especially when you think of the multiplicative effect of those incidents further down the line. Lord, have mercy! Please come and save! “It is time for you to act, LORD; your law is being broken.” (Ps. 119:126) We can pray that prayer and watch what He does in His time. But in the end, as you are saying, “strike them down” is essentially saying, “strike us down”, too. Thank you, God, for Jesus, for that blood that cleanses us from all unrighteousness, that stays the blade of the angel of wrath.

    Liked by 1 person

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