the biggest problem… part 2

So, I told you I had more to say about the problem of pain, because it is a universal problem. No one escapes it… but I left a few things undone… and, of course, I can’t do that…

When you meet a person for the first time one of the first questions you will likely ask is, “So, where are you from?” It may not be worded like that exactly, but usually in order to get to know a person you need to know where they are from. So it is with pain. A lot of non-Christians get hung up on the origin of pain, and why God allowed it to enter into the world? Pain is a by product of evil and evil enters the world through sin. But it is important to remember that evil is not something created. It is more like a state of things. Just like good isn’t concrete… you can’t point to good… you can point to a good chair or a good person or a good movie, but not to good by itself. The same is true of evil. And the state of evil is a byproduct of disobedience, rebellion, etc. against God.

In the Garden in Genesis 3, Satan tempted Eve and Adam with the idea that they could “be like God” by eating the fruit of the tree. Some people think that the mistake that Adam and Eve made was that they ate the fruit, but really it is deeper. It comes down to the fact that they wanted to replace God and be God for themselves. Their choice to try their hand at being God resulted in the status of evil entering into the world. Now, a lot of people will say, “Well, Satan is there so evil is there already, it doesn’t have anything to do with human sin.” In one sense, that is true. Satan is there already, and so is the possibility that Adam and Eve will mess up. (Side note, I’m not going to launch into an origin of Satan discussion since only a couple of passages in the Bible may or may not deal with it but you can check out this article for more details on that… But as we see from Genesis 2 God gave them that free will. But… whoa… wait a minute… does that mean God created sin? NO! God created human beings, and human beings have to have free will in order to be human beings and not merely animals or robots. You see, God created us in his own image. Something about how we are made, and something about the content of our being reflects something of our Creator. God has choices and thus so do we. Without the option to not choose God we wouldn’t be what we are created to be.

So, sin allows evil to come into the world, and sin brings pain, toil, hardships and so on. But the good news is that God always, always, always knew that was going to happen, and always, always, always had a plan to redeem what he created, and it would be even better than if he had never created anything in the first place. God, even in Genesis 3, tells Adam and Eve that the seed of the woman will crush the head of the seed of the serpent pointing to the redemption of Christ. Paul explains it best in Romans 5.

12Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned— 13for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. 14Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.

15But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

18Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 19For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

20The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Therefore, the problem of evil and pain points us to the solution… Jesus Christ. And his sacrifice of his perfect life more than accounts for all the evil and sinfulness in the world, and that can be accessed by anyone who chooses to quit making the mistake of Adam and Eve, quit trying to be God, and put faith in Christ and his Lordship.

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