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Jun 19 1956



The Problem of Evil

Before dealing directly with Jesus' attitude toward disease, let us pause for a moment to consider briefly the whole mystery and problem of the existence of evil and suffering in this world of ours.

How often have we asked the question, sometimes in mere puzzlement, sometimes in an agony of despair, "Why does God permit evil in this world of His? Why need there be any sin in the world at all?" For sin causes such misery and tragedy in private lives as well as the widespread devastating horrors of war. Why need there be such terrible calamities involving masses of innocent people, disasters which entomb scores of men in mines, train wrecks and shipwrecks with their pitiable toll of death and bereavement?

Why could not nature and human nature be so constituted, and human lives so organized and arranged, that we might move along quietly and happily without any of these things happenings to break our hearts and lives?

It is quite possible, I think, that God could have created a world in which catastrophes of nature would not occur, that He could have begotten the human race with nothing but decent kindly instincts so that our days and nights would be passed easily and pleasantly, eating, drinking and loving, working at some congenial occupation, frisking in the sunlight and swimming in smooth waters, with nothing to cause us pain or grief.

But if He had, we would have been little better than the animals without the compelling stimulus to moral, intellectual, spiritual and social development to which evil and disaster challenge us.

Consider the last war, and the benefits that have come out of it, horrible as it was. Think of atomic power, and what it is going to mean to industry and domestic comfort.

Was there ever such widespread, whole-hearted international effort toward the relief of suffering and hunger and the development of the resources of needy nations and races? At last we are on the way (in spite of existing antagonisms) to becoming One World.

And to bring about One World we need, above all, one Creative, Unifying, Supreme Being with a loving purpose for all mankind, and an irresistible compulsion to seek His help and direction in doing our part.

And our private troubles and problems and weakness, physical, moral, mental and spiritual, create a constantly clamant personal need for His guidance, help and strength. Without that sense of need and His love and power to meet it, there would be little to draw us together in a common sense of humanity. "We love, because He first loved us" (I John iv, 19). [Balance of manuscript can be found at Whitehern]

1 The material for this manuscript came in part from Calvin's sermons at the Mountain Sanatorium; However, only selections from manuscript are available on this site. The full manuscript can be located in the archives at Whitehern.

For title page and table of contents for full manuscript, see Box 14-078.

For the introduction, see Box 14-079.

For chapter I, see Box 14-080.

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The development of this website was directed by Mary Anderson, Ph.D. and Janelle Baldwin, M.A.
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