“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” – John 12:24
“The last enemy to be destroyed is death...Death is swallowed up in victory.” – 1 Corinthians 15:26, 54
"The greater the sin, the greater the mercy, the deeper the death and the brighter the rebirth.” - C. S. Lewis
"This story...has the very taste of primary truth." - J. R. R. Tolkien

Friday, January 30, 2009

A Greater Redemptive Purpose

More common among those who reject Christianity than this black-and-white logical objection is a struggle to accept that a loving God would allow such a broken, pain-filled world to be. How could an all-powerful and loving God allow people to suffer? It might seem there is a contradiction here that rules out the existence of this kind of God, but a hidden premise lies beneath. As Tim Keller explains in The Reason for God, the assumption behind this objection is that evil is pointless, that it could not possibly serve some greater redemptive purpose, but how could we rule that out from the beginning? Surely we must leave open the possibility. Indeed, if God is good, then will he not make reality, on the whole, something good – if he loves his creatures, will he not give them joy in the long run? Could evil, as a passing reality, possibly contribute to this?

I am convinced that there is a greater purpose for which evil exists. It is this glorious divine design that I want to search into in these posts on the victory of God. The way God has used evil to achieve a greater good and a higher joy is filled with deep wisdom and glorious riches. This great mysterious redemptive design is what Christianity is all about.

NOTE: It is important to remember that, according to the Christian worldview, all people are sinners and worthy of divine judgment. The question of why God would make creatures whom he knew would fall into sin is another matter, and one that we will investigate. However, it remains true that we have freely rejected God and deserve hell, and although this is so, God continues to pour out his goodness and “common grace” on all people, even the wicked. As the sun continues to rise and the rain still falls and life goes on, even for those who daily scorn God’s name (Matthew 5:45), we have cause to wonder at God’s goodness and mercy.

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