Saturday, May 23, 2009

The God I Don't Understand- Chapter 1

Let's begin Chapter 1: The Mystery of Evil of Christopher Wright's book with some thoughts and reflection.

If you're into comics and superheroes, maybe some would agree with me that the first series of Batman movies (those that stared Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer and George Clooney) has to be said as a bad adaptation of a superhero character to the big screen. But come 'Batman Begins', I was totally blown away by the storyline. I especially like how Bruce Wayne evolved into the mysterious Batman. It was one of the ultimate origins story of a superhero adapted to the big screen and with that minimizes the mysterious character that superheroes have.

But as for evil as explained by C.H.Wright in his book, it's origin is somewhat difficult to pin point. I've heard people use texts like Isaiah 14:4-21 and Ezekiel 28:1-17 as reference points to how evil or rather Lucifer's fall from grace came about. On these two texts C.H.Wright says that "they were written originally to describe the defeat and death of historical human kings, and so it is a dubious exercise to build detailed doctrinal statements about the devil or the "underworld" upon them." (40) But although that may be the recurring fact about the two bible passages "they have a spiritual counterpart that is recognizably satanic." (40) For a more clearer description of Satan and his demons read Jude 6, 2 Peter 2:4 and Revelation 12:7-9.

So, what are we to make of trying to understand evil and let alone it's origin to get a better understanding on things? For C.H.Wright, "evil does not make sense. "Sense" is a part of our rationality that in itself is part of God's creation and God's image in us. So evil can have no sense, since sense itself is a good thing." (42) Evil is not something that has any part of anything God created so therefore evil is "an intruder, an alien presence that has made itself almost (but not finally) inextricably "at home"." (42) Because Evil is foreign it makes no sense and should stay at the point of making no sense.

I must admit that I am frustrated with not being able to understand evil and it's origin and especially when C.H.Wright tell us to park at the space where we simply embrace the fact that evil should not be understood and that it simply makes no sense. But I do see the wisdom in taking this slant to making amends to our brains that always seeks understanding.

C.H.Wright goes on to say that "...God...has chosen not to explain the orgin of evil, but rather wants to concentrate my attention on what he has done to defeat and destroy it." (43) But this does not negate our desperate emotions to ask deep and frustrating questions on the mystery of evil. We are all the more encouraged to do so.

Evil will always have the capacity to pry our emotions out in the open but we are to take comfort that we are not meant to understand it but to work with God in trusting what he did and what he is doing to defeat it.



2 comments:

theholywild said...

i typed out this long comment and it didnt take for some reason so heres a shorter version:

evil is like darkness. it is not a thing in itself. it is the absence of a thing. darkness is the absence of light just as evil is the absence of righteousness. it does not have essence or being of its own.

for this reason any search for it its origin is asking the wrong question. it cannot be known in such a way. it can only be known in contrast to something positive that is lacking.

Mason said...

Tremonti, hope all is well. I read/reviewed “The God i Don’t Understand” early this year and was very impressed, I have no doubt you’ll continue to enjoy it.

The way in which Chris Wright was willing to let things remain a mystery, to admit we won’t know everything, was refreshing.
The ‘problem of evil’ has been a real struggle for me, on a number of levels, and I think that when we get right down to it the Scriptures are much less concerned about why evil is here or what it is exactly and much more concerned with what God is doing to set things to rights.

Hopeful Theo

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I'm a student of Theology (currently and will always be one). I'm a student of culture and a student of music as well. I guess you could say life is a never ending journey of learning. Because of that we never stop being students. Just a little something about this blog: Deconstructing The Monkey is all about being a safe space for emerging conversations