Oklahoma has found itself in the international news spotlight once again, as two teens are accused of killing a 22-year old man in Duncan just “for the fun of it.”
The problem of evil shows its head again, as the community and victims ask “Why?” This problem boils down to the following: If there is an all-knowing, all-powerful God who loves us, why does He not stop evil from happening to us?
In his seminal work, “The Problem of Pain,” the great C.S. Lewis seeks to answer this question, which he believed was the greatest challenge to Christianity. Though you should read the book, Professor Louis Markos of Houston Baptist University summarized it in one phrase, “free will.”
In other words, God could have created a universe in which men only acted out His wishes, but from creation He gave us the ability to choose the good or choose evil. For the Reformed and Calvinists among us, this answer may not be satisfactory. But what Lewis was getting to is that the explanation of pain and evil is sin, and the fallen nature of man.
In his exquisite Confessions, St. Augustine recalls a time in the days of his youth when he and his friends stole pears from someone’s pear tree, not to eat from them, but for the pure glee of doing evil. Sound familiar?
Lewis went on to say that were it not for the goodness of God, we would not even know what evil is. In other words, how do we know what a crooked line looks like if we do not know a straight one? Mankind’s hearts are desperately wicked the Scriptures tell us (Jeremiah 17:9) and the enemy, Satan, is always tempting men to do evil.
On a deeper level, as we grieve the death of this man, it is important to focus on what we know. But now is not is not the time for a cold, theological analysis. It is always best to turn people’s “Why?” into a focus on “Who?” Only God can right all wrongs. Only Jesus Christ lived the sinless life. In Him alone, we have life and hope amid the darkest days of evil.