Saturday, August 27, 2016

Original Sin is to Blame, Not God

I was perusing the Daily Mail to see photos of the aftermath of the terrible earthquake in Italy when I made the mistake of reading the comments section underneath the article; if anyone wants to lose hope in mankind, I suggest reading the comments under any news article. In the comments, nestled amongst ones blaming the quake on a super-weapon developed by the United States, I saw a comment that is familiar to our ears whenever anything terrible happens: "thanks a lot, god"

Of course, 'god' has to be lowercase, which signifies the writer either as an atheist or severely uneducated (since the sentence began with a lowercase letter, as well). But it's a true sentiment of many people when something overwhelmingly terrible happens - we blame God. Many of us have our faith shaken, because we know God to be loving and we cannot explain how such a loving God could allow things like natural disasters, sexual abuse, and torture to happen - especially to those who love him. We hear all the time that nothing happens unless God permits it to happen, so to the unbeliever, that's all the more reason to hate God, for that means he permits predators to rape children and for natural disasters to destroy the lives of millions. But is that really what is happening? Can we blame God for evil? Of course not.

For the Christian, the devil is responsible for evil; in his foolish rebellion against God, Satan and his angels in their pride have chosen to take on God, with us in between. With Christ's victory on the cross, Satan has lost the war - battles still rage, but the war is over. God has won, for he has given us a way out, a way to find sanctuary in his presence. But Satan, as prince of this world, remains in "power" a little while longer.

So evil continues to exist: pride, jealousy, murder, rape, abuse, slavery, pornography, abortion, natural disasters, war. This is the world under Satan. People blame God because they either cannot believe that he wouldn't stop these things from happening (they expect God to be an overbearing chess player with mankind as pawns), or they blame him for being powerless (that God is distant, uncaring, or doesn't exist).

But we have only ourselves to blame. Through the actions of our first parents, sin and death entered the world: "Cursed is the ground because of you...In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return" (Gen 3:17, 19). And mankind has been demented ever since, committing unspeakable acts up to this very day and beyond. We were created in perfect unity with God and one another, but all of that was destroyed when we chose evil over good, when we chose Satan's will over God's will. "For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now..." (Rom 8:19-22). We can see here in the writings of St. Paul that due to our sin, Creation has been groaning, subjected to futility (think of our buildings constantly destroyed by natural disasters or our crops destroyed by drought or floods), and that Creation is in bondage to decay.

WE did this. WE caused this. All of this is a result of our sinful actions. This is the world - the universe - without God, in a sense. This is a foretaste of life apart of him, a warning of the world to come if we die outside of his friendship. We think we can get along fine without God - look around to the evils of the world and see a world created in the image of fallen man; even Creation groans and decays because of us; the fact that we can even experience climate change is due to the fact that we're fallen and in need of God's restoration. Natural disasters and the evil actions of others are our daily reminders that we're not in charge, that a world we try to build without God is a world of futility, and that it is to the NEXT world which we are to look, not this world. All too often, we think of making this world our utopia, but it's the next world - the restored Creation - that will give us everything we could ever hope for. That's not to say that we shouldn't try to make this world a better place; after all, how would we evangelize to others about the goodness of God if we accepted the evil of this world? But we should always remember that this world is passing away and that any evil we see is caused by the man in the mirror, thanks to our first parents when they chose to listen to Satan over God; the only way to combat this is to listen to the New Adam (Jesus) and the New Eve (Mary) and hope for the new Creation that is to come: "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away...And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new" (Rev. 21:1, 5).