Understanding Evil, Show 314, Replay

Transcript from show #314 Replay 

(Please note that the transcripts are written pretty well as they were delivered on air).

Radio Show...

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Opening Narrative

Well I’ve been reading a couple of books on the understanding of evil. What it is in our contemporary time, as a continuation of what it has been since the beginning of time – time as we know it.

It is something that most people – theists and atheists – often question… “If God is loving and all powerful, how come there is so much evil in the world?” they ask.

I want to share some of the content of this very interesting and profound topic in this message today, in the hope that it will help many people who may be struggling with this subject matter in their lives… that they may not understand all of what it is, because it is not talked too much in the church today….

Of course it’s not an easy matter to discuss and nobody knows the full answers to the questions it raises… but at least we can make some sense of some of it in order to keep us strong going through it …

So we’ll get into that in a moment… but first let’s listen to this opening music...

(Opening Music interlude on the live radio show)

(Let us pray...
The Lord's Prayer...
Praise God Doxology...
Worship Music...)

Narrative #1

So, yes, if there is a loving and all-powerful God how can He allow so much evil and suffering in this world… that’ a question that’s on the mind of many people….

When we hear of so much going on in our own communities and in war stricken lands, where people are suffering unimaginable physical and mental afflictions… it seems sometimes that the compassion of human beings and of God is nowhere around.

The daily news is full of unfair and unjust deeds and atrocities and I will spare you the listing of them by horrid names as it is given in the books that I’m reading, but you know what they are, we all hear and read about them day after day in TV and newspaper reports… Shootings, killings, rapes, torture, etc… and personal pain and sufferings of all kinds.

There are those who believe that an all-powerful and all-loving God is watching over these calamities. And the skeptic asks, “Are they right to believe this. Is it good that they believe this?”

And the atheist gives the entirety of his belief with a resounding “No.” as he brings forth more examples from the daily news of suffering to prove that God does not exist…

like hurricanes and tsunamies that displace and kill hundreds and thousands, wars, riots and conflicts that terrorize civilians and soldiers alike… all the time while people pray and call out to God for help….

Atheists love to point this out and say that all these tragedies take place while “these poor people die talking to an imaginary friend” as quoted in one of the books titled “How Evil Works – Understanding and Overcoming the Destructive Forces That Are Transforming America” by David Kupelian.

The author goes on to say that mankind has grappled for thousands of years with the mystery of suffering, and asks how can it be compatible with an all-powerful and benevolent God.

Many people throughout the ages – past and present – have angrily condemned God as cruel and sadistic. Many have turn from their faith in God after having suffered personal adversities and disappointments in life.

One person that comes to my mind is the well known Canadian broadcaster, author and journalist Charles Templeton who trailed a successful evangelical ministry alongside Billy Graham in the 1940’s.

However, doubts about some of the passages of the Bible, led him to begin to question the essentials and fundamentals of the Christian faith. Soon, following the unsound teachings of atheistic influencers, he eventually and sadly left the church and became an atheist himself.

Templeton was also very disturbed about a disaster that took place in his personal life when fire destroyed his home. But a thorough search on the details of how much this event added to his decision to leave the faith showed no results. But no doubt it did influence his transition a great deal.

He went on to write the book “Farewell to God” to explain his reasons for leaving the faith. Besides questions of theological nature, he quoted from a gloomy phrase by English poet Alfred Lord Tennyson to explain his feelings: “Nature is red in tooth and claw and life is a carnival of blood… and like many he also resorted to the question: “How could a loving and omnipotent God create such horrors as we have been contemplating…”

And this is only one example, there have been many more similar accounts of people who seemed to have been following the faith but had no roots to hold them when the winds of controversies came flooding in.

We’re going to look at another famous evangelical individual who is known world-wide for his famous Christian writings and who struggled with the same questions when deep a personal adversity hit him, but whose sincere faith in the end stood its ground to keep him from walking away from God…

I’m reminded of the parable Jesus told of the sower, which we find in all 3 synopsis of Matthew, Mark and Luke:

I’m reading from Dr. Luke:

5, A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.

6, And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.

7, And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.

8, And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit a hundredfold.

And when he (Jesus) had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

9, And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be?

And Jesus went on to explain the meaning of all this, which we will look at in the next segment…

(Music Interlude and Station ID)

Narrative 2

Alright, before I get back to the parable of the sower with the explanation from the Lord to the disciples,

Let’s look at the other individual I mentioned earlier, who struggled with the same questions when deep personal adversity fell on him, but whose sincere faith in the end stood its ground to keep him from walking away from God…

That individual was C. S. Lewis, whom many of you know. He was one of the twentieth century’s most influential authors and defenders of the Christian faith…

He has helped countless people in their journey toward God through his books, such as Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, Chronicles of Narnia series and many others.

But during a very difficult time in his life, here are his incongruous words:

And I quote: “What reason have we, except our own desperate wishes, to believe that God is, by any standard we can conceive, “good”? Doesn’t all the prima facie (feeshe) (at first face, accepted as correct until proven otherwise) evidence suggest exactly the opposite? … If God’s goodness is inconsistent with hurting us, then either God is not good or there is no God: for in the only life we know He hurts us beyond our worst fears and beyond all we can imagine.”

You would think that these words would be uttered during the time Lewis was an unbeliever…

As some of you may know, Lewis was an atheist for the first part of his life. But gradually, in his early thirties, through various exposure to Christian works, he became convinced of the existence of God, and embraced the Christian faith.

But these words were very real at this time in is life, after he was acclaimed for his most famous Christian works. In his book, A Grief Observed he records his real intense bereavement, angers and doubts about everything he had written and taught concerning a “loving God” for decades.

He layed it out in such raw and uncensored manner that we are told he originally released the book under the a pseudonym so that his readers wouldn’t associate it with him.

These horrible but real words were said and written after the death of his wife, Joy in 1960.

For well into his fifties, Lewis had been a bachelor. Then he met, Joy Davidman a gifted American writer and poet of Jewish background who had converted from atheistic communism to Christianity, in part due to Lewis’s writings… , and there’s a real good movie about this called Shawdowlands…

After they corresponded for several years, Joy moved to England and they married in 1956, when Lewis was fifty-seven. We are told that both of them knew Joy had bone cancer, but during a brief time of happiness and travel the cancer was in remission.

Sadly this blissful period was short-lived, and the cancer returned worst than before and Joy died 1960.

This is when Lewis experienced the greatest anguish he had ever been through when his mind resorted to the big question of “Where is God when one needs Him?

He says in his book:

When you’re happy, you don’t even seem to need His help, God is there welcoming you “with open arms.” But when you’re desperate, when no one else can possibly help or console you and you turn to Him, what do you get? “A door slammed in your face”—and then, silence. Wait all you like, but all you get is more silence.

Then you hear Lewis express remorse by adding: “Not that I am (I think) in much danger of ceasing to believe in God. The real danger is of coming to believe such dreadful things about Him.”

You can feel the struggle going on in his head, in his soul.

Then as common atheist thinking, Lewis asks, “Who or what can possibly make us conclude that God is actually good, when most everything that happens in this life seems to “suggest exactly the opposite”?

Then expressing further thoughts going on in his mind, Lewis runs through a negative and positive torture of what if and what about of the love of God and the work of Christ on the cross, which I don’t want to dwell on here because of its painfully raw content…

But it is not any worse than what an individual going through such agonizing pain and suffering might go through in a grieving and hurtful season of life… where every attempt at prayer seems to bring back memories of previous happy times but which now feel only as false hopes.

Eventually, Lewis gets out of his agonizing rant and grief and begins to come back to his normal senses and after a few weeks

He begins to reconnect with his reverence of his Creator and to understand that “these things are sent to try us,” and that “God wasn’t “trying an experiment on his faith or love in order to find out their quality.

No, because God knew it already. It was I who didn’t know”, Lewis affirms.
That God always knew that his temple was a house of cards. “His only way of making me realize that fact was to knock it down”, Lewis concludes.

And he offers a useful metaphor to explain the powerfully redemptive use God makes of human suffering… which I will get into in a moment…

(Music Interlude)

Narrative #3

So the metaphor Lewis uses to explain the powerfully redemptive application God makes of human suffering -- as he has just discovered -- is that of a game of Bridge …

For the players to take the game seriously, he says, there must be money on the game. Then he explains that life is like that.

In other words, one’s “bid” for good or evil, for eternal life in heaven or in hell, won’t be serious if there is nothing clearly at stake.

He goes on, it is only when we realize that the stakes are raised horribly high, when we see unmistakably, that everything we have, everything we are or ever will be, is staked on the “game,” that we’ll take it seriously.

Lewis confesses: “Nothing less will shake a man—or at any rate a man like me—out of his merely verbal thinking and his merely notional beliefs, He has to be knocked silly before he comes to his senses.”

In other words, some of us don’t take the whole message of the Gospel seriously enough to change them… it is as we often hear that some people are saved and others are merely religious…

I remember some years ago when in a small church, the members were praying for their wayward pastor, and they went to the pastor of a larger church to seek advice about their concern that their own pastor did not respond to the prayers of the congregation…

After listening to their story, the elderly and wise pastor said, “Sometimes, people have to smash right into the concrete wall before they will come to their senses.”

This was not very encouraging for the members but it was all that could be done at the time… wait and pray until God brought this individual to his senses through some high stakes in his life.

In the book “How Evil works” the question is asked:

“Why do you suppose one person who suffers a great personal loss loses his/her belief in God, while another goes through the same experience and emerges with his faith intact and stronger than ever?

What words can describe this mysterious quality? Is it humility, blessedness, grace?”

It goes on to say that this is actually beyond words, perhaps some unexplainable connection between our soul and God, some back channel that enables us to keep attuned to a proper perspective regardless of difficult circumstances.

That special quality is the secret ingredient that makes the good things that happen to us truly good, and the bad things also “good” because they have a redemptive value, because God uses them to perfect us.

As promised in the Word of God, “… all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

So when the gospel calls and we respond, we are then in Him, we abide in His word…

And then we know also the promise of 1 Corinthians 10:13: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

So the secret ingredient is to know the Word of God and to stand on it in faith…

Thy faith has healed thee… or made you whole… Jesus said in Mark 5:34

Narrative #4

So, the secret ingredient in life is always knowing the Word of God and knowing the stakes ahead of us…

and to go back to the parable of the Sower that Jesus told to His disciples, here’s the explanation from the Lord Himself, taken again from the book of Luke:

First, let’s review what we read earlier:

5, A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.

6, And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.

7, And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.

8, And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold.

And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Wow that’s how important this was to our Lord… you can feel His burden for his people in that line “he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”

Oh that we would understand the depth of the Word of God and heed it… or pay attention to; listen to; take note of; observe; notice; rgard…

And here is the explanation part of the parable given by our Lord:

v. 11 to 15 of Luke chapter 8:

11, Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.

12, (1) Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.

13, (2 )They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.

14, (3) And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.

15, (4) But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.

Wow… so those who cannot triumph over adversities are the 2nd and 3rd groups…

They are either those who when they hear, receive the word with joy; but these have no root, and therefore believe for a while, but in time of temptation fall away…

or else they are those which, when they have heard, go forth, but are choked with the cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection …

Group #1 does’nt even count here because they did’nt even receive the word of God because the devil robs them of believing and receiving because they don’t even have the soil in their hearts to grab on to the Word of God…

And the last group, are those who are safe in the arms of God because their heart was of good ground, sincere and honest, having heard the word, kept it, and brought forth fruit with patience.

The question now is:

Which of the 4 groups do you belong to?

1._Having heard the gospel are you one who just took what you heard lightly and went on your way letting the devil steal the Word of God from you… or

2._Are you of that group who has heard with joy but then never cultivated the roots to resist the temptation or adversities of this world… or

3._Are you of the group who received the Word once but went on to be choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life and brought no fruit to perfecton? Or

4._on the other hand are you or will you be right now of the last group who in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, will keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.

You have to be of one or another… which is it…? There are only 4 groups of people who hear the Word of God and respond in one way or another…

If you never gave a thought to this before, you can decide right now -- and that decision can only be from one of the above 4 groups…

Now that you know the 4 groups, you can make a decision with understanding…

And to do that all you need is to come to Him right now, to Him who made the way for you and for me, and who said:

28, Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

29, Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

30, For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.Jesus Christ the Saviour -- in sincerity of heart and spirit… and say this prayer after me:… (Matt 11:28-30)

Just say this prayer:

Lord, I come to you right now and make a decision today to join group #4 which is that of those who with an honest and good heart, have heard the word of God and have responded to the call of the gospel… and I promise to keep it, and to bring forth fruits with patience and joy… I ask that you would come into my heart today, wash me of my sins of which I now repent, and I turn my life over to you my Lord and Saviour from this day on… Amen…

Closing Narrative…

Before I dismiss the service today, I want to read to you the Blessing that was read to the people of God in Numbers 6:24-26 which is the benediction from God to you today:

“The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace."

I hope and pray that you will come back next Sunday at SpiritFM.ca, 7 am and 7 pm pacific time. And if you want to hear the service again at any time, you can go to my website at TimingRevelation.com, and click on the Radio Shows navigational tab along the left side. The replays are available there for five weeks, then they are transcribed into articles as new radio shows are put up.

I encourage you to go to your Bible and read further on the scriptures that were given throughout the program today. And if you like these programs and you've been blessed, call or write the station and let them know... if you said the prayer and have accepted the Lord or you've been healed or touched in some way by the Holy Spirit, write to me on the contact form of this web site...

...and this web site is also where you will find the Free Offer of the “Christian Growth and Maturity Chart” that I talked to you about in the last weeks... you will see the graphic on any page called “Get your free CGM Chart”, click on it and it will take you to a page that will tell you about it and how you can subscribe to my newsletter to get your free copy of the Chart sent to you.

Until next week, Maranatha, the Lord is coming, very soon. Goodbye and Blessing.


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