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THEODICY 

 

ĎThe vindication of divine providence in view of the existence of evilí

- Oxford English Dictionary -

 

All Scripture citations are to the NIV-UK

 

WE MUST MAKE a wide distinction between Godís permitting evil, and the assertion by unbelievers that He is the malicious author and instigator of it. Such a view contradicts the Scriptures. He seeks the worship and love of only such as approach Him in spirit and in truth, and to this end has accorded liberty to the human family in order that they may choose righteousness. That all might exercise free will and yet be enabled to profit by the first failure in Eden in its misuse, God provided Jesus Christ, a ransom from the sentence of death. This means of reconciliation is open to all and will be understood by everyone at the appropriate time (1 Tim. 2: 3-6):

 

This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men ó the testimony given in its proper time.

 

The End in View

Is there some benefit in the method God has pursued? If evil must be permitted because of manís free moral agency, how is its extermination accomplished by such a circuitous method? Why allow so much misery to intervene, and to come upon many who will ultimately receive the gift of life as obedient children of God anyway?

 

Had God arranged differently the propagation of our species, so that children would not partake of the results of parental sins, or that each one should have favourable Edenic conditions for their testing, how many might we presume would be found worthy or unworthy of life under their own individual test? Suppose that one-fourth, or even one-half, were found worthy, and that the rest suffered the wages of sin Ė death. Then what?

 

Wisdom and Grace In Action

Let us assume that those who had passed their test had neither experienced nor witnessed sin, might they not forever feel a curiosity toward forbidden things, only restrained through fear of God and the penalty of death? Their service could not be so hearty, since they would lack a full appreciation of the benevolent designs of the Creator in making the moral laws which govern His creatures.

 

How much more like the wisdom of God to restrict the damaging effects of sin, as His benign plan does. In His wise economy, God has decreed that the Millennial reign of Christ shall accomplish the full extinction of evil and (wilful) evil-doers, and usher in an eternity of righteousness, based on full knowledge and free-will obedience.

 

More Than One Redeemer?

One Redeemer was quite sufficient in the plan which God devised because only one man (Adam) had sinned and been condemned. Had Adamís trial been only one of many individual tests, a ransomer would have been required for each failure. Those who can appreciate this feature of Godís plan Ė which by condemning all in one representative, opened the way for the ransom and restitution of all by one Redeemer Ė will find in it the solution to many perplexities. The condemnation of all in one was the reverse of an injury: it was a great favour when viewed in connection with Godís plan for providing justification for all through one.

When Godís plan is fully accomplished, all reasonable minds will be able to read unambiguously His wisdom, justice, love and power. They will recognise the justice which would not violate its own decree nor save the justly-condemned race without a full cancellation of their penalty by a willing redeemer. They will see the love which provided this noble sacrifice and which highly exalted the Redeemer to Godís own right hand, giving Him the power and authority to restore to life those whom He had bought with His precious blood. They will see the power and wisdom which worked out a glorious destiny for His creatures, employing even unwilling agents in the historical advancement and accomplishment of His grand designs. Had evil not been permitted these results could not have been attained.

 

The Glorious Prospect

In the final analysis, when the purposes of God have been accomplished, the glory of the Divine character will be obvious to all, and this temporary permission of evil acknowledged as a benevolent feature in the Divine policy, instructive to salvation.

 

True, at present, this can only be appreciated by the eye of faith, looking beyond the present distress, forward through Godís Word to the promises in His Word and the restoration of all things lost (Rom. 8: 20-21):

 

For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

 

You may also be interested in a article on "The permission of Evil and Its Relation to God's Plan" at Index Two number 141 (Click Here)

 

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