Why Is The World In Such A Mess?
What’s gone wrong? No matter where we look, questions like this cry out for answers. Some people don’t need an answer.
Polytheists can blame the gods and their incomprehensible ways. Some gods are evil all the time, and most gods are evil at least some of the time. What other kind of world would we expect?
Monists come in two major shapes, and neither one needs an answer to the question of evil. Monism is the view that ultimately all reality is one and indivisible. Spiritual Monism (Buddhism, Hinduism, and comparable worldviews) affirms that everything is part of the one utterly transcendent Being, and all the distinctions we see in the world are only illusions. You and I are the same. I and the rock are the same. Good and evil are the same.
Materialistic Monism affirms that there is only one reality; the visible and material reality of the universe. Reality is only the sum total of mass and energy in the universe, and whatever is, is right. For the Materialistic Monist (or, more simply put, the atheist) goodness is a far more perplexing problem than evil. All sorts of theories and ideas have been proposed, trying to explain how goodness, love, kindness, and sacrifice could have evolved into such highly-valued attitudes and actions.
But for Christians, evil is a real problem at every level.
We affirm that there is one living God who is not us, who is the creator of the whole universe, who is personal, good, loving, powerful, and sovereign. We’ve also affirmed that we dwell in his good creation, and that we ourselves are not powerless, worthless, irrelevant pawns trapped in the midst of chaos?
So WHY does it look that way? What went wrong? And why do we know it is wrong?
Believe it or not, those aren’t common biblical questions. While two of our oldest Bible stories (Genesis 3 and Job) address the problem of evil, neither one answers our questions. By all means, affirm the truth that humanity rebelled against its Creator – chose self-worship over the with-God life. In a created world, blessed with the gifts of fruitfulness and dominion, with one and only one proscription, we did swallow the serpent’s lie. That’s part of the answer.
But that is not the whole answer. Evil attacked us in the garden. Evil attacked Job. The origin of this evil is hardly questioned or explained in Scripture. Instead, the question is, “How long?” How long will the good, loving, powerful, awesome Creator/Ruler/Father allow evil and death to wreck His creation and turn all its goodness to futility?
Don’t be afraid! Scripture rings out with the voices of believers crying out to their God in anger, in confusion, in despair, in lament. Our Father has taught us that we can plead with him, and trust him to rescue us and redeem all our days of mourning. Don’t be afraid to be honest with Him today! He does hear, and He will wipe away every tear. How long, O LORD?