01 June 2010

Jesus Teaches about The Kingdom and Evil and Suffering

Matthew 13:24-30
Matthew 13:36-43

Why does God allow evil?  How does a good God tolerate suffering?  If he is all powerful, if he is all knowing, why is his creation the way it is?  These questions have been asked almost as long as man has inhabited the earth.

From a personal perspective, I'm partially glad that God does not exact instant justice since there have been times I have been the reason for suffering among my neighbours.  There have been times I did not regard the revealed ways of the Lord not out of ignorance, but because I wanted what I wanted and I didn't care who I hurt or who I cheated in order to get it.

"Did God really say that?...You will not surely die...You will be like God..."  These have been the lies we have happily consumed from the beginning.  The insidious nature of evil is that according to God's Word, evil is not a created entity.  Evil is a distortion of good.  Just as there is no such entity of darkness and cold.  Darkness is scientifically explained as a lack of light.  Cold is scientifically explained as a lack of energy or heat.  Evil can be measured as a lack of goodness.

This is why reasonable people conclude that we don't live in a black-and-white world, but in a gray world.  In a sense this is true.  When we try to define objects as good or evil, we fail because we forget that God created the world and called it all good.  It wasn't until we listened to the fallen angel, Satan, that God's good world became distorted because we used His generous gifts not for His good purposes, but for our own wants and desires.

For example, sex is a very good, generous gift from God, but when we distort that gift outside of God's purposes and use it for our own desires, sex results in suffering.  Alcohol is something to be enjoyed by his creation, but when we distort that gift away from God's purposes and use it for our own desires, alcohol results in suffering.  Amphetamines in the hand of a caring doctor can be used to relieve suffering.  Amphetamines in the hand of a greedy drug dealer is used to spread suffering.  Money and other material blessings are just that - gifts from a generous God.  But outside of God's purposes for those things, they quickly morph from blessings to curses.

What does our Father want?  He wants his image-bearers to mature and bear fruit, fruit that will last.  

Why does the King allow evil and suffering?  "in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them."

Elsewhere in our Father's Word we read that the blessed man is like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season.  Our family planted some fruit trees over two years ago.  They do not produce fruit yet.  It will take many years of care and provision for the trees before they will grow strong, tall and fruit-yielding.  For many of us, it takes a lifetime before we are truly the people worthy of being His image-bearers.  

Until that day, we must trust in our Father, in our King.  It is not our job to harvest the crop.  It is simply our job to take the nourishment our Father gives to us, grow to the point where we can share those blessings with others. 

This is what the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to...  

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