Does evil exist?

The university professor challenged his students with this question. Did God create everything that exists? A student bravely replied, “Yes, he did!”

“God created everything? The professor asked.

“Yes sir”, the student replied.

The professor answered, “If God created everything, then God created evil since evil exists, and according to the principle that our works define who we are then God is evil”. The student became quiet before such an answer. The professor was quite pleased with himself and boasted to the students that he had proven once more that the Christian faith was a myth.

Another student raised his hand and said, “Can I ask you a question professor?”

“Of course”, replied the professor.

The student stood up and asked, “Professor, does cold exist?”

“What kind of question is this? Of course, it exists. Have you never been cold?” The students snickered at the young man’s question.

The young man replied, “In fact sir, cold does not exist. According to the laws of physics, what we consider cold is, in reality, the absence of heat. Everybody or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (-460 degrees F) is the total absence of heat; all matter becomes inert and incapable of reaction at that temperature. Cold does not exist. We have created this word to describe how we feel if we have no heat.”

The student continued, “Professor, does darkness exist?”

The professor responded, “Of course it does.”

The student replied, “Once again you are wrong sir, darkness does not exist either. Darkness is, in reality, the absence of light. Light we can study, but not darkness. In fact, we can use Newton’s prism to break white light into many colors and study the various wavelengths of each color. You cannot measure darkness. A simple ray of light can break into a world of darkness and illuminate it. How can you know how dark a certain space is? You measure the amount of light present. Isn’t this correct? Darkness is a term used by man to describe what happens when there is no light present.”

Finally, the young man asked the professor, “Sir, does evil exist?”

Now uncertain, the professor responded, “Of course as I have already said. We see it every day. It is in the daily example of man’s inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil.”

To this, the student replied, “Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is not like faith or love that exist just as does light and heat. Evil is the result of what happens when a man does not have God’s love present in his heart. It’s like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light.”

The professor sat down.

God cannot be both good and evil any more than I can fully occupy two rooms at once. He is either one or the other, but rest assured, because goodness exists He is the source of that goodness. Darkness can’t create light, or the cold create heat, so it is the same to say that evil cannot create good, of any kind.

The sun stands as an amazing symbol of our dependency on God. This world relies on its existence for multiple reasons. Without the sun plants wouldn’t grow, the world would become as cold as space, and there would be no light. We would lose orbit, as would every other planet in our solar system, being flung out into space. Our idea of darkness, in other words, our “night”, would take on an entirely new depth. The sun is always reflecting it’s light off of our moon and the surrounding planets, without the sun those lights would blink out, and all we would see are very distant stars, from solar systems we would never reach. In a matter of weeks, our atmosphere would freeze and collapse, ending all hope that our planet could ever be salvaged.

It’s a terrifying thought, and yet, it puts things in perspective. Just as we depend on the sun, we depend on God, and not just on the deity of God, but on a good God. On a present God who concerns Himself with us, mere humans, and loves us enough to keep this world spinning, light shining, heat radiating, and goodness flowing.

There is an episode of Star Trek that comes to mind, Captain Kirk and his crew accidentally find themselves in a mirror universe, switching places with their mirror selves, who are practically opposites in every way. The mirror universe is barbaric and hostile, and it doesn’t take long for Mr. Spock (normal universe) to notice something is wrong, while in the mirror universe, Kirk is able to blend in. Mirror Spock finds it more difficult to uncover the truth. At the end of the episode, they discuss this difference leading to this thought-provoking quote:

“It was far easier for you as civilized men to behave like barbarians than it was for them as barbarians to behave like civilized men.” –Spock (Mirror, Mirror)

Evil cannot create goodness. God cannot deny Himself and create evil, which is merely His absence. And yet man has a choice in the matter. Though made in God’s image, we have been given free will, and the ability to turn from God. We are more than capable of being good (by our standards), or evil. Even serial killers can blend into society, and many of us wouldn’t know it if one sat beside us on the city bus. Very much like the phrase, “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” This is the big dilemma as well as the big hope, that we can choose goodness and love, that inwardly we long for it. And the dilemma is that even whilst we desire love, we can still do evil deeds.

We needed a Savior, a connection to God. You see, even without our sun, our planet’s core would still put out some heat, but it would not be substantial, and we would struggle to draw it out. Eventually, as our planets were flung from orbit and we lost gravity, the core would grow cold. A core that today is as hot as the sun’s surface.

What I’m getting at is just like the earth apart from the sun could struggle on awhile, without it’s connection to the main source of heat and light, it would eventually die. In the Old Testament, we struggled to become pure, to be good. And it wasn’t enough, because we weren’t connected to the source of goodness. Then Jesus came and re-established that link, now with the Holy Spirit we can have salvation, we can be righteous, and can even be vessel’s for God to work through in power and might.

It is time we distinguish what God is and what He is not. It is time we stop attributing the sins of this world as either act of God or the absence of God. All that matters in this life are that we draw closer to Him, that we know who He is. I heard a song the other day that said, “it’s not what you have but what you believe,” that matters in the end. So many people believe that they know better than God, that they somehow have created good for themselves that exceeds God’s goodness. How foolish can we be? The only reason we are able to love at all is because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).

I depend on a Good God.

I depend on a present God.

I depend on God.


2 thoughts on “Absent

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