Monday, March 17, 2014

The problem of Evil.

I'm not a philosopher, I'm not a theologian....I'm not really sure why I'm even attempting to write about this been thinking about it for well over a week.

Over a rough rough week I posted some Psalms on facebook, now I've had my fair share of rants about facebook and social media. I'm pushed more and more each day to just deleting it...that however is not the point nor the fuel for this blog post.

Psalm 37: 7- 9 aroused some interest among some of my non- Christian facebook friends. Sometimes they (unbelievers) comment of my status and it frustrates me because normally I post bible status for MY comfort or to strengthen and encourage other believers. To be questioned and challenged when obviously I'm dealing with challenges in reality well it's irritating, however I just ignored it and life goes on...

Yet I found myself thinking about the comment so here is the passage.

Be still before the Lord
    and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
    when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
    do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For those who are evil will be destroyed,
    but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.

Granted its only a part of the Psalm a very powerful Psalm...but only in part however this part lead to the question. 

"What is your definition of evil?"  (which I proceeded to ignore for a couple reasons, 1. at that point in my life it was not an important question. 2. it would be a worthless discussion. 3. I did not write that status to start a debate.

Luther, Aquinas, Nietzsche, Milton, Dante, Augustine...just to name a few, and still the question is struggled with to this day. To claim that one has it figured out to even claim that one of these are wrong is well pretty arrogant and basically like saying that you have figured out what the great minds of history did not. However, later on I found a status that responded to mine. (Nice to know people read it!) 

"Today's lesson; Psalm 37:9 - For those who are evil will be destroyed,
but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land. Now there's two schools of thought on the definition of the word "evil" when it comes to people according to Christian mythology. One is: "Those who dedicate their souls to [the entity known as] Satan and commit acts in his name." In which case, only .09% of the world's population would be this category. I'd like to think most Christians would believe this school of thought. However, there's the other (more radical) thought which defines evil people as, "Those who do not accept Jesus Christ as their lord and savior." I'd hope that most Christians do not follow this philosophy. Because if so, then they believe their version of Yahweh (who is supposed to be an omni-benevolent god) would condemn 68% of an entire planet's population simply because they don't believe in him. Nd if, people would willingly believe as such; that who is truly the evil ones here?"

Notice that this person used even less of the verse then I did...taking it even FURTHER out of context. I do not know where this person got the definitions of evil but those points don't matter and will be discussed a bit at the end. Nor am I going to discuss MY opinions of what evil is because that's all it is is opinions and honestly the question does not bother me. I have no problem excepting the fact that evil exists, and that God is good and only he knows why evil exists. 

   I'm hear to address the issue of Psalm 37...which was the fuel for the above status. Often people forget while reading the bible that though it's the living word and it is applicable to our lives today, it was written in a very different time and this specific Psalm written by David. David wrote this Psalm at the end of his life during the time Adonijah set himself up as king despite knowing the kingship was passing to Solomon. Going against not only King Davids wishes but the LORDS as revealed through the prophet Nathan.  He tried to steal from his king and from the Lord...and upon Davids death he planned to rid himself of Solomon and Bathsheba...  knowingly causing harm to others...just one of the many definitions of evil. Yet even then if you read the entire Psalm 37 you don't get the idea that it's God condemning evil people to hell its more of a trying to warn them of what could happen..I tend to get the impression that David needing encouragement himself and wanting to give some to his son Solomon wrote this Pslam in order to do just that. A warning to Solomon and other men of God at the time,  to not fret when it looks like evil people are succeeding in their ways and just what fretting, worrying, leads too...evil. As well as written for believers today the price you could pay for not trusting God to have your best interest in mind.

  Now the part focused on...

For those who are evil will be destroyed,
but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.

In my translation the term destroyed is translated cut- off and this is another one of those times I wish I could read the original text..

Just as the Israelite that came out of Egypt never saw the promise land because of their disobedience and unbelief.. this Pslam reminds us that the same could happen to us even to this day. 

Wether it addresses heaven and hell, I don't know I'm not a bible scholar I can only assume at this point in Davids life the afterlife was very much on his mind. I know it does not define what Evil is and who is considered evil. That is not ours to decide I don't think...Nor do I think does the bible leave us much to use to understand Evil, what it is and why it exists and that God must have a reason for that.

But I'm not one to sling around the word "Evil" and to be considered "evil" because I believe God  condemns 68% of this planet because it has chosen to reject his hope and not fair nor correct. God does not wish to condemn anyone EVER.

Nor do I agree that one of the Christian definitions of evil is "someone that doesn't believe in God" This seems like a very extreme take on the word evil or maybe it's a poorly written definition . Lost yes, sinner yes, but no one deserves the label evil with out good cause. We just haven't finished our work here on earth yet if people haven't heard the good news, and the spirit hasn't finished working if after hearing the word it is rejected. The choice to reject is not in anyway a Christians fault...therefor, the soul that is lost when it rejects God's grace does not make me evil for sharing God's message in the bible...I'm evil because I am human... and I'm saved by grace. All I can do is share.

    Romans 3:23
    for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 
    1 Timothy 1:15
    Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.

There is so much to the word evil then a Webster definition or a Christian definition we could dive into the difference between moral evil, and natural evil  we could jump into all the different philosophers that studied it and in the end still have different ideas, thoughts, and opinions.  

So no I don't think you can define evil in a facebook status...or even in a essay after years of study. 
I figure if you read my status and get defensive maybe you have something to be worried about. If you read it realized you are weak, and need God and pull encouragement from the fact that even the great men of faith struggled at one point or another...then my status has served it's purpose.

 I don't mean to pick a fight with this post, nor am I angry I just felt like God has been moving me to write about it. 

These are just my thoughts and opinions trying to be shared with as much respect as possible.

P.S. Dear facebook friend who's status I used understand this was not an attack thank you for the fuel for my blog!