Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Evil Revisited

Well, the two comments I got on my last post inspired me to write again. So thanks Northern Plains Anglican and Anna! I was thinking of just letting my blog slip into hibernation mode, which still might happen, but right now I'm just going to try to post every week or two. Medical school is going well. The amount of information presented in lectures does make it somewhat like "drinking from a fire-hydrant" but I think, with God's help, I'll make it.

So my topic as you can see from my title is the problem of evil, theodicy. Just in reading my textbooks I'm constantly being confronted with "clinical correlates" which is basically every rare and horrible disease or syndrome you can imagine. Which leads me to cry out, "why God?" To some extent I know the answer: sin and separation from God. But I am still unsatisfied with my understanding of some of the horrible evils that occur as a result of little things like genetic mutations.

Here at Loma Linda we have required religion classes. So far they have been pretty good. We usually have some Scripture-reading assigned along with an article or two to read. We've also had two patients share. Both are Christians and both have a lot of suffering in their lives to deal with. The response of these two people were different but I found both inspiring. One of them feels robbed by what happened to him and he was unwilling to accept any simple explanations like Satan did it or that it was somehow God's will. I think he might still have some anger about it but with all of that he was still able to say that he has a close relationship with God. The other patient was actually able to see her circumstance as a gift from God, that had caused her to draw closer to God and witness to many. As she talked I was amazed by the amount of trust in God that she showed. She said something like, "if I stay here God will take care of me and if I don't stay here I go to my true home." Both of these people live with the "evil" in their lives in different ways and I'm not going to judge if one is better.

So when it comes down to it, the only thing in Scripture that completely defeats any "problem" of evil is Romans 8:18. Paul says, "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." Paul suffered a lot, which to me makes this statement all the stronger. Of course this statement only does away with the problem of evil for a person with enough faith to believe it. This level of trust in God is not always easy to have and I admit that I have struggled with it at times on my Christian journey. The wrongs and evils that are experienced in this world are, for the most part, not righted here. All we can do with them is give them to God, trusting in his Victory, Justice and Love which is being and will be revealed.




I give thanks to God for you. We need those who can minister to the whole human being. We are not just a machine to be fixed, but a complicated being made in the image of God yet marred by sin.

And as you point out, there is so much mystery. So much that will not accept easy answers now. How blessed to have a doctor who can admit that.

Anna said...

Thanks for the shout out. :) I like the med school/theology combination blogs.