Evil is not minimized, but it is put in its place, bracketed between Christ and prayer. There is a detail listing of evil and a courageous facing of evil, but no explanation of it. Nowhere in the Bible is there any attempt to answer the question, “Why does a good God permit evil?” Evil is a fact. The Bible spends a good deal of space insisting that certain facts are evil, and not minor blemishes on the surface of existence. But the Bible does not provide an explanation of evil – rather, it defines a context: all evil takes place in an historical arena bounded by Christ and prayer. Evil is not explained but surrounded. The Revelation summarizes the context: admit evil and do not fear it – for “he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4); endure evil, for you are already triumphant over it – “ I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18). The Revelation expands the apostolic and dominical words into visions. By putting evil in its place and enumerating it accurately in the precise part of the story where it belongs, it is seen as finite episode and not a total triumph.
Category Archives: Suffering
In judged Jerusalem [during the time of Jeremiah] it was impossible to confuse material prosperity with God’s blessing. It was impossible to confuse social status with God’s favor. It was impossible to confuse national pride with God’s glory. It was impossible to confuse rituals of religion with God’s presence. The clutter of possessions was gone; the trappings of status were gone. And God was present. All the cultural and political and religious and social assumptions and presuppositions that interfere with the clear hearing of God’s word in Jeremiah’s preaching were taken away. Conditions had never been better for developing a mature community of faith.
Jeremiah ends inconclusively. We want to know the end, but there is no end. The last scene of Jeremiah’s life shows him, as he had spent so much of his life, preaching God’s word to a contemptuous people (Jer 44). We want to know that he was finally successful so that, if we live well and courageously, we also will be successful. Or we want to know that he was finally unsuccessful so that , since a life of faith and integrity doesn’t pay off, we can get on with finding another means by which to live. We get neither in Jeremiah…In Egypt, he continues determinedly faithful, magnificently courageous, heartlessly rejected-a towering life terrifically lived.
>This is difficult to watch because of the content but also because the community of Christ is not speaking up more for those who are used!