From the diary of Cotton Mather February 1684

When I have been sitting in a Room full of People, at a Funeral, where they take not much Liberty for Talk, and where yett much Time is most unreasonably lost, I have usually sett my Witts a work, to contrive agreeable Benedictions, for each Person in the Company.

In passing along the Street, I have sell myself to bless thousands of persons, who never knew that I did it; with secret Wishes, after this manner sent unto Heaven for them. Upon the sight of:

A tall Man: Lord, give that Man, High Attainments in Christianity; lett him fear God, above many.

Children at Play: Lord, lett not these Children always forgett the Work, which they came into the World upon.

A Very little Man: Lord, bestow great Blessings upon that Man, and above all, thy Christ, the greatest of Blessings.

A Man carrying a Burden: Lord, help this Man, to carry a burdened Soul, unto his Lord-Redeemer.

A Man on Horseback: Lord, thy Creatures do serve that man; help him to serve his Maker.

Young People: Lord, help these Persons to remember their Creator in the Dayes of their Youth.

Young Gentlewomen: Lord, make `em wise Virgins, as the polish’d Stones of thy Temple.

A Shop-keeper, busy in the Shop: Lord, lett not the World, cause that Person to neglect the one thing that is needful.

A Man, who going by mee took no Notice of mee: Lord help that Man, to take a due Notice of the Lord Jesus Christ, I pray thee.

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Why is there Evil?

March 29, 2011

The question is often asked of christians “Why does evil exist if God is both good and sovereign?” This is a favorite of atheists and is a question that will creep into the heart of every Christian at one point or another.

Is the answer easy? No. Is it a dangerous topic? Yes. For a finite man to contemplate the greatness of the infinite is like trying to drink the ocean with a shot glass. However, where scripture leads us we can safely go. We should never go beyond scripture but we should never ignore it either. The Holy Spirit inspired it to be read and understood.

In short, evil exists for a short while because God is glorified in its destruction and His elect are edified in the knowledge of God’s character that is opposed to evil and in the witness of His power over all things. So, it is good that evil exist for the time that God has ordained it to exist because it is better for his glory and for the edification of the elect than if it had never existed at all.

Romans 11:32 ESV
32 For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.

This is an incredible revelation indeed! The Spirit inspired Paul to burst forth in adoration upon writing it!

33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?”36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

One may err and take the word all in verse 32 to mean every person who ever lived, however that cannot be the case or this would be the proof text for universalism. The bible flatly rules out universalism.

John 3:18 ESV
18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

So we know that the mercy spoken of in Romans 11:32 was on all nations, not just Jews. Each nation contains elect people in it and it is for God’s glory and for the benefit of God’s elect family that this current reality in time exists. This is a common theme in the bible as it was indeed a great revelation that all people would glorify God.

Psalms 86:9 ESV
9 All the nations you have made shall come
and worship before you, O Lord,
and shall glorify your name.

So we see that God has had mercy on people of all the nations of the world.

God, before the world began elected to create a people for the purpose of adopting them into his family. The story of our world is the story of God’s plan of adoption in action.

This is the biblical order of salvation in the life of every elect individual:

Election, Predestination, Gospel Call, Effectual Call, Regeneration, Faith, Repentance, Justification, Indwelling, Sanctification, Glorification.

Romans 8:28-30 ESV
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Ephesians 1:3-11 ESV
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,

Where does that leave the reprobate? Why does God still find fault? It is evident that we are exploring the biblical doctrine in its depths as the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to record this reply to that question.

Romans 9:11-23 ESV
11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” 14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. 19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—

This is a straightforward and irrefutable answer to the question from the pen of the inspired apostle! The reprobate was prepared for destruction and his purpose is to maintain an evil world for the benefit of the elect so that God can make his power and the riches of his glory known to those he has chosen for adoption.

So God’s plan does indeed work out for the good for those who love him. God is not the author of sin and evil, that distinction is left for those who do the sinning and tempt others to sin. God is however the ordainer of sin and evil and has decreed that it will be allowed to exist for a limited time so that he can teach the elect the needed lesson and display his love and mercy and power to them.

People are culpable because of who they are and what they intend as opposed to the righteousness of God who has for a good purpose decreed all things.

Genesis 50:20 ESV
20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

God’s plan is a plan of family and love. He loved his Son and us so much that he gave His only Son to be sacrificed for his glory and for our benefit.

John 3:16 ESV
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

We know that Jesus Christ is worthy of glory and honor because of who he is and what he has done. If evil never existed we wouldn’t know those things. I take confidence in God’s perfect plan. I urge everyone to trust in the Lord for he is good!

Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.

–David