Robin Martens is the pastor of Kinnaird Park Community Church. Photo: Submitted

Robin Martens is the pastor of Kinnaird Park Community Church. Photo: Submitted

FAITH: How do I know I have the truth (part four)?

A column by Castlegar pastor Robin Martens

From the Problem of Evil: Apart from the Triune God revealed through the Christian Bible as the standard and source of good, and also, the Bible’s teaching on human rebellion and divine judgment, we cannot explain the reality of evil, suffering, and death in our cosmos, world, and lives, much less resolve any of it.This is the case in a mere evolutionary view of the universe where nothing is good or bad. Everything just happens to be what it is. For example, there is no difference between a stone rolling over an ant hill and a nuclear bomb razing a city. Nor is there any difference between a lion killing an antelope and a human murdering another human. Given the utterly meaningless and unliveable nature of a strict evolutionary view, there must be a coherent way to account for our prolific experience of evil.

What, though, is evil? Evil is both the bad stuff humans do to each other and the world, and also, the bad stuff that nature does to itself. What are we to make of evil?

First, philosophically speaking, evil is not an original entity like good is original. Rather, evil is a later corruption of a prior good (Lewis, Mere Christianity, Book 2) — as in soured milk, rust on metal, and rape to sexuality. This means that good exists without evil but evil doesn’t exist without good. Practically speaking, we can live without evil but we cannot live without good. This is also why our feelings that something is seriously wrong with the world are a strong indicator that our world was originally meant to be good.

Second, every time we call something “evil” we are automatically assuming a superlative standard of “good,” without which standard our judgments are meaningless. This is the case because “evil,” as just noted, means nothing apart from “good”—just like a crooked line assumes the notion of a straight line and our sense that something is bad means we know it’s not what it ought to be (Lewis, Mere Christianity, Book 1).

Therefore, with a simple definition and these two insights in mind, it’s easy to recognize the truth of biblical Christianity. The Triune God, who alone is good in himself and thus the standard of good, created an originally good world that was later corrupted by the rebellion of man and consequently cursed under God’s judgment — yet with his promise of redemption and renewal in Jesus.

Apart from these truths there is no way to make sense of the huge problem of evil, much less resolve it. (See: Genesis 1:1, 26-28, 3:1-24, Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, Isaiah 33:22, 53:6, Mark 10:17-22, Romans 1:15-32, James 4:12, Revelation 20:11-15, 21:1-8.)

Robin Martens is the pastor of Kinnaird Park Community Church.



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