Sunday, July 29, 2012

Why?

If God is all loving then why is there so much suffering and evil in the world? At first one would be inclined to say that if God created all things, then evil must have been created by God, however, evil is not a “thing” like a rock or electricity. You cannot have a jar of evil. It has no existence of its own. Evil is really the absence of good. For example, holes are real but they only exist in something else. We call the absence of dirt a hole but it cannot be separated from the dirt. Think about it this way…Does cold exist? Most of us would say, “Yes” but we would be incorrect. Cold does not exist. Cold is the absence of heat. Similarly, darkness does not exist. It is the absence of light. When you turn off a light switch the absence of light leaves darkness but you cannot create darkness on its own. You can walk into a dark room and create light with a flashlight but you cannot walk into a light room and create darkness with a flashdark. Likewise, evil is the absence of good, or better yet, evil is the absence of God. So, God did not create evil. When God created; all that He created was good. One of the good things God made, however, was creatures who had the freedom to choose. Without the freedom of choice we would be little more than robots and God didn’t want robots that simply did what He wanted them to do because of their “programming.” Without choice love itself is meaningless. You see, God is neither a cosmic rapist who forces His love on people nor a cosmic puppeteer who forces people to love Him. Rather, God, the personification of love, grants us the freedom of choice. But in order to have a real choice, God had to allow there to be something besides good to choose. So, God allowed both angels and humans to choose good or reject good (evil). Unfortunately, history bears out the fact that humans of their own free have sometimes chosen darkness and evil but if He had not allowed for that possibility both mankind and angels would be serving Him out of obligation not choice. God did not create evil but He did allow for the possibility of evil so that we could genuinely have a free will and choose whether or not we wanted to serve Him. Why is there so much suffering and evil in the world such as that which took place in Aurora, CO? Because not everyone chooses good. Not everyone has chooses God. 


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

My Buddy "TJ"
  
How time flies! It seems like yesterday when I was cruising around the North Shore of Massachusetts with my Triton High School buds blaring "Eruption" by Van Halen! We grew "up" (I suppose). I know we grew "out." As the years passed we all got married and started families. We stayed in touch though. We went camping first as friends and then as families. We celebrated together as children were born, took their first steps, and then got their drivers licenses. Taylor (TJ) was my friend's oldest son and he was my buddy. We just kind of connected. I watched him grow up. I wondered if he would. I mean it seemed like all he ate for the first seven years was peanut butter! But grow up he did into a fine young man who has now graduated from High School and on July 16 will ship off to Parris Island to be made into a Marine. It just doesn't seem all that long ago when I was sneaking him quarters for the game room when his parents weren't looking. I am so proud, as I know his parents are, and I am truly humbled. Jesus told us in the Gospel of John, "There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." (Jn 15:13) Never is that more clear then when you know someone personally that is willing to defend our freedom. Someone willing, if need be, to give his last full measure of devotion - for me and for you. You may or may not know TJ but that doesn't matter. He is willing to do it regardless. I can tell you this. It certainly gives me a whole different perspective on Independence Day. As you celebrate July 4 take a moment in between hot dogs and hamburgers, parades and fireworks and  to consider this as well. You may or may not know Jesus either but He was willing to die for your sins regardless.