Monday, May 17, 2010

The Purpose of Evil

As I watched the 60 Minutes story on the Deep Sea Horizon disaster in the Gulf, I was struck by the potential scope of this event. There are unprecedented amounts of oil now drifting about in the ocean that could cause environmental damage all along the Gulf coast for years to come.

I expect it will be years before we start drilling off our shores again. This will serve to make us even more dependent on the oil from the Mideast and it will drive up the price of everything. With that in mind I was surprised to see the price of oil dropping this morning. Fears that recovery from the global recession is going to suffer a setback due to the European debt crisis have made commodity speculators bearish. It would seem that economic factors still trump environmental concerns at least in the near-term. But dropping oil prices is a short term trend that will be eclipsed by the Gulf environmental damage which will not go away any time soon.

While the official cause of the Deep Sea Horizon disaster has not been determined yet, the evidence that has been made public points pretty accusingly to British Petroleum. It looks like BP executives insisted that the rig operator, Transocean, overlook safety issues to reduce the cost of the drilling operation. So greed looks like the root cause. Of course we need to be careful in passing judgment based on a story from 60 Minutes which has a liberal bias in their reporting. The liberal bias is that since use of oil damages the environment due to global warming then all oil companies are bad, all off-shore oil drilling is doubly bad, and indeed capitalism itself is bad. But despite the bias, if the 60 Minutes story is accurate I’d say the days of BP being allowed to exist as a company are numbered.

It is tragedies like the Deep Sea Horizon disaster that will cause the public to accept more governmental regulation and more general intrusion into our lives. We are on a fast track to bigger government and every disaster that foreshadows the Tribulation accelerates that process. It seems that no one wants a good crisis to go to waste.

As we consider the increasing incidence of evil as we rush headlong to the Tribulation, it is helpful to keep the big picture in mind… God's will always triumphs over evil. It certainly looks like good and evil are struggling with evil making headway against good. But ultimately it is good, God's will, that will prevail. The Bible tells us the end of the story and thus it is inevitable that good triumphs over evil.

God allows evil to run its course to serve His purposes. His higher purpose in allowing us to be exposed to evil is to enable us to exercise free will. Our capacity to exercise free will is the most profound aspect of being made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). God gave us free will because He wanted us to experience the depth of personal relationship with Him that is only possible if we are free to accept or reject that relationship. So life in this fallen mortal world is a test to determine who will spend eternity in the presence of the Creator.

I pray that all who read this post already have or soon will believe that Jesus Christ is Lord. Coming to this point is infinitely better sooner rather than later. When Jesus returns, it will be “to execute judgment on all” (Jude 1:15, NKJ). We can not know the "day and hour" of His return (Matthew 24:36) so the wise thing is to be ready now. All indications are that we do not have long to wait.

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