There is no problem of evil. Some pastors, theologians, professors and philosophers say there is. They often state the matter something like this:
The problem of human suffering [which they say is the evil] must be reconciled with how it is that God is good. If God is good, why do children suffer?
I dismiss the whole conundrum as invalid.
There is no problem here–not as pastors, theologians, professors and philosophers commonly state it (and I think I captured it well enough in the above sample), and not in how they address it. I think I can demonstrate this rather easily. The problem (if there is one) is completely elsewhere. The real question is:
Why does everyone hate God?
Humans hate God (Romans 1). That’s the evil to which reason can’t give an answer. Well, reasons may be given, but they are not reasonable. The hatred of God is evil, and it makes no sense.
The problem, then, is what humans think of God–they hold to irrational, evil and baffling thoughts. If this is what we mean by the “problem of evil”, then Yes, there is a problem of evil. But my recasting of the question so as to state the real problem is not accepted by the philosophers, professors, theologians and pastors. Indeed, by missing the real problem, they contribute to it. All their inquires into any supposed problem of “why do humans suffer”, are just more examples of the problem itself (thinking man’s thoughts after men, and against God–the anthropomorphic way of attacking God).
There is a crime, and the result of that crime is everywhere present and evident. The crime is what humanity has done, and still does to God by what we think of Him. This is the great ubiquitous evil (this is the crime). An innocent one has been criminally attacked. The Innocent One is God. Now if we want to talk about a problem of evil, we can: Why do creatures hate the Trinity? And, why do we multiply that crime by acting like we are the victims (and that human suffering is the puzzle)?
We hate him, and then we wonder why humans suffer. This too is criminal.
We attack Him, then wonder how He can be both good and just. And pastors take up the question as if it is valid (often as if they are sensitive to the way depraved and wicked humans think about the question). Pastors join the attack.
We attack him in our original hatred of him, then we attack him again because we hate him for His punishment. We are evil. In fact, the exploration of human suffering is the popular way of republishing the human verdict against God.
The Prophets Defended God (They did not Defend Mankind)
Consider the prophets of the Old Testament. Consider what they wrote. The prophets did not stand on the side of humans (wondering how God can be good if men suffer); they were not asking why bad things happen to humans. The prophets stood on the side of God, representing the Innocent One, and they wanted to know: Why do humans hate God?
We Killed Him
Why do humans victimize God’s image, his place, his desires, and (finally) God himself. He came in flesh; we put Him on trial, found Him guilty, and crucified Him.
The problem of evil, popularly explored, is a problem, but for the exact opposite reason that the religious world is exploring. The creatures write their books asking why humans suffer, and yet never write from the standpoint of asking what it is we do to God. They just want to know what God does to us (and, the question goes on to see if his acts can be reconciled with his goodness).
Modern authors and thinkers are more like the false prophets of the Old Testament. In contrast, the Old Testament prophets are like the New Testament prophets, asking: “Why do humans hate God?” They side with God, and they want to know if there can be a human who does not hate God. And they get their answer. That human is Jesus.
Endorsing a theological conversation about the “problem of evil” (again, as it is popularly conceived) is evil. And pastors rush to the evil. They write books and interact with the angst of those who side against God. They weep and cry and act like wounded victims trying to identify with the other criminals.
Prophetically, then, one can ask why ministers are trying to give answers to the world’s debased question about a supposed problem of evil (as if the question is valid). This is evil itself. The question of the world is flawed, and pastors who identify with the question identify with the world.
What’s Wrong with God?
Why does God let people put him on trial like this? Why do humans hate God so as to then put him on trial?
What is so bad about God that we keep attacking him?
This is a problem. Because it is illogical. It makes no sense.
God is good (see Christ), and we kill him.
This is the problem.
Don’t Confuse Crime with Punishment
That all humans suffer is not the crime (it is not a curious problem to be solved), it is the punishment. Human suffering is the everywhere-evident response of God against all attackers.
What did we do to God that he constitutes the world a prison colony?
The world is the prison colony. It is the antichrist asylum (none of us here starts out innocent), and it is the antechamber of punishment where God’s verdict is enfleshed in human suffering (for which a greater expression awaits).
To look upon this world as if there is a conundrum about human suffering is to buy the lie — it is to gaze upon the human qua human, and to see the world in the same way as those who hate Jesus.
A Better Way
There is a better way to see. We are to look upon God with the knowledge of Christ. We are to see this world for what it really is: the place where Christ is hated, and where that hatred is shown to be devoid of logic and reason. And that in all of it, God reveals that he loves Jesus, and Jesus loves the Father. This is the place where the love communicated in the Trinity gets magnified (I will return to this line of thought below).
To see in a better way, observe that the crime (the hate of God) is irrational. The punishment is enfleshed all around us.
The better way of seeing sees that the crime (the hate of God) is illogical. And so seeing, now we can wonder: Why do we hate God?
Do we Hate God?
Christ is our proof that we hate God. We killed him. We are altogether worthless and senseless beasts. The mystery is not, “why do the good suffer”, the mystery is that every sentient being turns against God. Indeed, even the angels have to be elected lest they all join the attack. Why is this?
Now we have a question.
Horizontal Crime is the Vertical Lexicon
The Holocaust is not a brute fact. It is a lexical entry in the dictionary. The hatred of Christ is the Holocaust to which the other one gives us a sense of what it is we do to God. We hate God. The Holocaust gives us more verbiage to describe what we think of God. God grants these enflehsed penal-answers so we can know what he feels about our hatred of Him. Our hatred of Christ is like dead babies. It is like camps where we slaughter people. To hate God is like that. Only worse.
Interpreting Our Crime
What does God think about our evil hatred of him? Look around at the answer. The answer is Death. God has not been passive or quiet. Everyone is suffering. Everyone dies. There is His counter-verdict.
If you encounter someone suffering, and they can’t hear any of this, the suffering is not working. Lift your head sufferer, and ask, “Why is God doing this to all of us?” Think about it: Everyone is suffering and dying. This is a death colony. We are all on death row. What did we do to him that this is his reply?
A sufferer does not need to figure out if God is good, they know he is, and they suppress it. They can look around, and they can measure his reply to our hatred of him. His attributes are plainly evident.
Look around. What did we do to God that he kills everyone?
Look around. Recognize that this a death colony.
This place is terribly vile. That should let you measure the crime against him.
The Sufferer Should Ask Better Questions
How good is God? If the attack against his innocence produced all that we see, then we could ask: Why is God so good, that what we did to him gets this answer?
You see, the minister errs if he lets the sufferer dictate the terms of the conversation. Because humans suffer, that does not mean that sensitivity means being human-sufferer-oriented. Rather, we are to be sensitive to God.
We can’t change the discussion from God to the plight of the human who is suffering (even when the human is very close to us). All human suffering works when it makes us wonder: Why is God so excellent that the hate of Him merits a world of human death and suffering?
We Hated Christ
We hated God and we proved it. We killed Jesus. So, what does God think of Jesus? Consider what he does to everyone who hates him. Look around at the death colony. Look at the punishment and consider the crime.
The Angry God Satisfied
Now–having jettisoned the popular way of asking the question of evil–now we are ready to start thinking about what all this means. Consider how excellent Jesus is that God can be satisfied with any of the rebel-creatures who assail him. The accounting for this is that Christ himself is more satisfying than the evilness of evil. Evil is not greater than Christ is good. Having considered the great evil of hating God, now see how he is propitiated. He is satisfied in Christ. He gets to express what Jesus means to him.
If we look at the world and wonder what we did to God that this place is now a death-row prison colony, we can also wonder how excellent Christ must be such that a vicious enemy is now reckoned as a friend (i.e., that person whom he chooses to indwell by his Spirit–that one whom he makes a Christian). Christ is so satisfying to the Father, that the current world order serves the greater end of us understanding this. There is a reason for the world and the way that it is.
In the suffering of Jesus, Jesus declared that it is good for God to be God (even if it gets God killed). Suffering had to exist for him to make this declaration. And, it turns out that God being God gets God killed. That one human (Jesus) would declare–against all other humans–that God is good (that one human would hold the opposite view of all other humans regarding God), proves to be so satisfying to God that the satisfaction abounds even to sinners (see Psalm 91:14).
The criminal can become friend
How can this be? This can be because one single human being satisfied in God, satisfies God. Jesus is that human. Jesus being so excellent proves to be more excellent than the magnitude of hatred for him. God satisfied in Christ extends to being a Christian’s satisfaction too (overflowing all the hate of his people). A human who hated God can be reckoned a friend, not because God gives up on punishing criminals, but because Jesus satisfies the wrath of God for enemies. Those enemies become friends. They are Christians.
Observe the anger of God (see that we live in a death colony), then estimate how satisfying Christ is to God–see that enemies can come to be counted as brothers and sisters to Christ. How excellent Christ must be. The satisfaction of God in Christ reveals the nature of the valor, virtue and value of Jesus himself.
Pastors and Theologians Generally evade the Point
I have a message for pastors. Stop identifying with the angst and hurt of the world as if humans were victims, or as if they had some good point (they lie, so do not identify with liars). Identify with Christ. Stop thinking in terms of some apologetic task to relate to sinners, and instead relate with Christ. Explain to other humans the reason for why God created the world. Explain to them the real problem and how our sin was the occasion for him to express what he thinks of himself. Explain the Christo-rational cause of creation. Explain why God created the world (to reveal himself, in flesh). The human mind is ready to learn how our sin was the occasion for God to express (and thus reveal) what he thinks of himself.
Greater questions await…
What inspired God to reveal Himself in creation? What motivated Him? What informs upon reality as it is? These questions, and more like them, are a frontier for human thought and happiness.